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Functional Disability and Social Support in Older Patients attending Chief Tony Anenih Geriatrics Center (CTAGC) University College Hospital, Ibadan Southwestern, Nigeria.

BACKGROUND: Beyond clinical evaluation, additional significant areas of well-being for older people include the emotional, social, material, and functional domains.

OBJECTIVES: The study assessed the functional status and its relationship with social support of older patients attending the Geriatric Centre, UCH.

METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional study of 396 randomly selected patients aged 65 years and above was undertaken to assess their functional status (by scoring their basic activities of daily living using the Barthel index) and social support (using the Multidimensional scale of perceived social support). An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain the socio-demographic data, anthropometric measurements, and morbidities of each patient. Data collected was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The level of significance of analysis was set at p ≤0.05.

RESULTS: Participants in the study had a male-to-female ratio of 1:1.6, and their mean age (SD) was 73.2 ± 6.3 years. Functional dependency was seen in 87.4% of cases. Majority of older patients (81.1%) expressed a moderate perception of social support. The Most common morbidities among the responders were osteoarthritis, cataracts, and hypertension. Functional dependency was found to increase with an increase in family and romantic partner social support, high educational levels, and increased age. {adjusted odds ratio (AOR):1.05;95%confidence interval [CI]:1.00-1.11. (P=0.049) The odds of being functionally dependent were higher for respondents who received at least 30,000 naira ($100) in financial support from their children (AOR:2.24; 95% CI:1.06-4.77) (P=0.022).

CONCLUSION: This study showed that functional dependency worsened with increased social support in older patients. The results indicated the need for a multi-factorial evaluation of functional dependence in older patients.

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