Health-care and home-care utilization among frail elderly persons in Belgium
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
European journal of public health. - Oxford
, p. 671-677
University of Antwerp
Background: The patterns of health- and home-care utilization among Belgian frail elderly persons living at home with varying socio-economic status are currently unknown. Methods: In this cross-sectional study based on a representative sample of 4777 elderly participants (epsilon 65 years) in the Belgian Health Interview Survey the prevalence of frailty, as determined by items referring to the Fried phenotype, was estimated according to age, gender, comorbidity, place of residence, survey year, living situation and socio-economic status. Differing health-care utilization [contacts with a general practitioner (GP), specialist and emergency department; and hospital admission) and home-care utilization (home nursing, home help and meals-on-wheels] patterns among the frail, prefrail and robust subpopulations were examined. Results: Overall, 9.3% respondents (426) were classified as frail, 30.7% (1636) as prefrail and 60.0% (2715) as robust. Frailty was associated with age, gender, comorbidity, region, survey year and socio-economic status. The frail and prefrail groups were more likely than the robust to contact a GP, a specialist or an emergency department and were more likely to be admitted to hospital, independent of age, gender, comorbidity, survey year, living situation, region and socio-economic status. They were also more likely to appeal to home nursing, home help and meals-on-wheels than the robust participants. Conclusion: Even after adjustment for potential confounders, including age, gender and comorbidity, frailty among Belgian elderly persons is associated with their socio-economic status and is strongly associated with their health- and home-care utilization.