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Health Status of Dependent Older People and Pattern of Care among Caregivers: A Case Study of Hong Ha Health Promoting Hospital, Lampang, Thailand

  • Received : 2018.03.06
  • Accepted : 2018.04.10
  • Published : 2018.05.31

Abstract

In 2015, the population of elderly people in Thailand was 16% of the total population and is predicted to be over 20% by 2021 and nearly 28% by 2031. The increase of the elderly population in Thailand has also increased the proportion of dependent elderly people, and caring for them poses many challenges for both families and the government. This descriptive method research aimed to survey the health status of dependent older people in the rural community of Lampang province in northern Thailand. The participants consisted of 62 older people and 62 primary family caregivers from Hong Ha Health Promoting Hospital, Lampang, Thailand (totaling 124 people). The researchers assessed the health status of older people and their activities of daily living (ADL). In addition, researchers assessed the health status and stress of caregivers. All the participants were interviewed about their experiences with caregiving. The results showed that most of the older respondents were female with an average age of 78.15 years. Based on the ADL assessment, 50 of the 62 older persons were homebound while the rest were bedridden. The majority of older people had chronic or long-term conditions that required hospitalization from time to time. Their frequent health problems included oral disorders such as tooth decay or caries/gum disease/no teeth, reduced sight, psychological disorders, knee pain and risk of falling, low BMI, risk of malnutrition, and urinary leakage and incontinence (58.06%, 66.13%, 62.90%, 70.97%, 38.71%, 66.13%, and 37.10%, respectively). Usual care provided by the family members included personal hygiene care, food preparation and feeding, medication management, housekeeping and organizing necessary equipment, supply of needed equipment, prevention of falls, helping with travel for medical checkups and treatment, and providing companionship. Families experienced shortages of medical supplies, daily use equipment, lack of employment, inadequate income, and difficulty accessing health care services due to lack of transportation. Some caregivers experienced caregiving stress related to a lack of social interactions as well as routine caregiving activities. Families need different types of support in order to promote the well-being of older people and caregivers. This highlights the need for a community participation model for the care of older people in order to reflect sustainable long-term outcomes.

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