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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 2003;36(4): 332-338.
A Study on the Association between Healthcare Utilization and the Burden of Families Caring for the Elderly in the Last 6 Months of Life.
Jee Jeon Yi, Hee Na Lee, Heechoul Ohrr, Hye Young Jung, Sang Wook Yi
1Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Korea.
2Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.
3Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Korea.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between medical expenses and the burden of families caring for the elderly in the last 6 months of life, and to evaluate the factors relating to the burden of family caregivers. METHODS: The families of 301 persons older than 65 years, who died between 1 July and 31 December 2001, and were registered in Resident-based- Health Insurance Programs in Seoul, were interviewed. The medical expenses and length of stay among the elderly were collected from Korean Health Insurance Corporations. RESULTS: 31 percents of the elderly had no medical expenses in the last 6 months of life. On average, the objective burden (4.92) was higher than the subjective burden (3.35). Families caring for male elderly had a higher burden. With increasing age at death, the objective burden was significantly increased. The burden on a family seemed to be influenced more by the family income than the property of the elderly. With increasing total health care costs, the objective burden on the family caregivers was significantly increased, but with increasing medical expenses, the subjective burden was significantly decreased. CONCLUSION: An association between healthcare utilization and burden on families was observed. The reason for the decreasing subjective burden when medical expenses were decreased was unclear. Further research will be needed.
Key words: Family caregiver; Healthcare costs; Burden; End of life
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