Behavioral factors associated with utilization of healthcare services among elderly in Pakistan: Evidence from a nationally representative survey
BackgroundIn Pakistan, health system is facing unprecedented challenges to deal with the healthcare demand of the growing ageing population. Using conceptual framework, this study aims to analyze the factors associated with the utilization of healthcare services in private and public hospitals by the elderly population. Methods This study used a sample of 5,319 individuals aged 60 and above extracted from the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey 2014-15. We followed the
... on's Behavioral model of healthcare utilization. The behavioral factors, including predisposing, enabling and need factors, associated with the use of healthcare care were analyzed using exploratory data analysis and binary logistic regressions. The utilization of healthcare service in the study refers to the visits to private and government hospital.ResultsOut of total 5,319 participants around three-fourth or 72.4% of participants visited private hospitals for their healthcare needs. Multivariate analysis showed that older age-group (80 years and above) and participants from urban were 1.35 and 1.53 times more likely to avail healthcare service in private hospitals, respectively. The elderly persons from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were three times (AOR: 3.29, 95%CI 2.5-4.8) more likely to visit government hospitals than their peers in Punjab. Participants who attended school (AOR: 1.21, 95%CI 0.82-1.31) were more likely to utilize healthcare service in private hospitals. Elders from rich (AOR: 1.04, 95%CI 0.84-1.13) and richest (AOR: 1.29, 95%CI 0.89-1.87) wealth quintiles were more likely to use healthcare in private hospitals. The likelihood of the utilization of healthcare service in private hospitals was 1.7 times higher for three or more consulting visits than the single visit, and 1.5 times higher in the public hospital. ConclusionsOur findings underscore a dire need for expanding the outreach of healthcare services for the elderly population. It calls for effective implementation of policies which aim at improving equitable access to private healthcare services, and upgrading of government hospitals Moreover, the knowledge generated through this research may be employed to make social protection programs more responsive to age-related healthcare needs, and focused on caregiving for elderly living without spouse.