Health care needs of elderly in a rural community in Korea

Yang-Heui Ahn, Mi Ja Kim
Public Health Nursing 2004, 21 (2): 153-61
The purpose of this study was to examine the need for health and social support services of the elderly who lived alone in a rural community in Korea. All 97 elderly who lived alone in 32 communities in H Eub(county), Kangwon Province participated in the study. Comprehensive assessment was conducted on their need for these services and on the status of their physical, functional, cognitive, emotional, nutritional, social, and environmental factors. Data were collected by eight public health nurses and were analyzed using descriptive statistics and stepwise multiple regression. Elderly subjects living alone had more than one disease, limited gait ability, limited functional capabilities as measured by the combination of activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living, and poor nutritional state. They had low level of cognitive ability, high level of depression, and high level of need for financial support. They engaged in no or little exercise. Service need for physical care was highest, and the factors contributing to the service need were gait ability, functional capabilities, nutrition state, and perceived health status. The results of this study indicate that their needs are multiple and complex. Well-coordinated health services that integrate social welfare services for elderly population who live alone are recommended.


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