The Quality of Life Matters: The Benefits of Ethnic Nursing Homes for Ethnic Elders

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Ying L. Wohlberg, MSc, BSN, RN
School of Nursing, UTHealth, katy, TX, USA


The long term care needs for minority ethnic elders has grown dramatically across the western world due to an aging population and global migration. According to the National Minimum Data Set (MDS), covering the ten-year period 1999–2008,  the number of elderly Hispanics and Asians living in U.S. nursing homes grew by 54.9 percent and 54.1 percent respectively. The care disparity and barriers that ethnic elders face in traditional long term care settings has been well documented and included access, difficulties in transition, inefficient communication, discrimination, isolation, misdiagnosis and inappropriate foods services. This article was based on a through systemic review aimed to explore the best long term care model for the ethnic elders and their families.

     Current long term care guidelines focus on culturally sensitive and person centered care, however the implementation and the outcomes of these policies are not clear. Those ethnic nursing homes that cater to specified ethnic groups have gained strong acceptance among ethnic minority populations and are growing, especially in Canada, the UK and Australia. Such homes provide a more accommodating environment to implement the current guidelines of culturally sensitive and person centered care to specified ethnic elders. It was well reported that such homes can ease the transition to institutional care for these ethnic elders and their families. There are a limited number of research studies on some individual ethnic nursing homes, mostly in the U.S., a few in New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. They have consistent findings that such homes improve the quality of life of the ethnic elderly nursing home residents. Studies of a large number of such homes with consistent research methods are needed.