American Indians and Alaska Natives in Nursing Homes: Initial results from the 2008 Minimum Data Set


This study questions the assumption that American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIANs) provide care for their frail older adults within the community. Using the Minimum Data Set (MDS) this study examined the status of Native elders in nursing homes compared to the white residents. The initial results indicate that AIANs enter the nursing homes at earlier stages of need and are more likely to be independent than white patients. In addition, AIANs were more likely to have lived alone or in another nursing home or residential facility prior to their present nursing home. This study is a wakeup call to examine the continuum of care for American Indian and Alaska Native elders. With the migration of young people out of Native communities, and with a lack of social services infrastructure, Native elders are being placed in nursing homes much earlier than necessary and earlier than whites.

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