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Keywords

Multimorbidity; care seeking; elderly population; physical and mental conditions

Abstract

Greater propensity to seek care is critical for improving health of elderly individuals with multimorbidity. We used the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (2012) to assess propensity to seek care among community-dwelling elderly Medicare beneficiaries (> 65 yrs.; N=11,270) having (1) no physical or mental illness; (2) single physical or mental condition; (3) multimorbidity with physical conditions only; and (4) multimorbidity with both physical and mental conditions. As compared to multimorbidity with physical conditions, elderly with no multimorbidity were less likely (Adjusted Odds Ratio [95% CI]: 0.50 [0.36, 0.68]) and elderly with both physical and mental conditions were more likely (1.57 [1.28, 1.93]) to have a health problem for which they should have seen a doctor but did not. Further, elderly having a usual source of care were less likely (0.53 [0.37, 0.75]) to have a health problem for which they should have seen a doctor but did not. Multimorbidity is negatively associated with propensity to seek care. The presence of both chronic mental and physical conditions worsened propensity to seek care among elderly individuals. Future efforts to increase the awareness of receiving timely care and improve the access to care can enhance propensity to seek care among elderly individuals with multimorbidity.


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