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Healthcare utilisation among the Belgian elderly in relation to their socio-economic status

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  • Hoeck, Sarah
  • François, Guido
  • Van der Heyden, Johan
  • Geerts, Joanna
  • Van Hal, Guido
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    Abstract

    Objectives To analyse the association between healthcare utilisation of elderly persons (65 and over) in Belgium in terms of contacts with GP or specialist and the socio-economic indicators household income, highest educational level within the household, and housing tenure.Methods A cross-sectional study based on 4494 non-institutionalised elderly participants in the Belgian Health Interview Surveys of 2001 and 2004. Socio-economic gradients in contacts (yes or no) with a GP or specialist were explored, based on the socio-behavioural model of Andersen, a conceptual framework that includes the most important determinants of healthcare utilisation. Three multivariate models were constructed using multiple logistic regression.Results After adjustment for age, sex, health status (self-assessed health, functional restrictions, and comorbidity), region, and living situation, initial differences in contacts with a GP and specialist between the different socio-economic groups disappeared among the elderly. On the other hand, contacts with a specialist remain dependent on SES in the younger population.Conclusions Adjustment for the determinants of healthcare utilisation among the Belgian elderly nullified the socio-economic gradients in contacts with a GP and specialist that initially existed. The results point to a potential link with the Belgian social and health policy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Health Policy.

    Volume (Year): 99 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 174-182

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:99:y:2011:i:2:p:174-182

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthpol

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    Keywords: Elderly persons Healthcare utilisation Socio-economic status General practitioner Specialist Belgium;

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    1. Dunlop, Sheryl & Coyte, Peter C. & McIsaac, Warren, 2000. "Socio-economic status and the utilisation of physicians' services: results from the Canadian National Population Health Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 123-133, July.
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    3. Lund, Rikke & Due, Pernille & Modvig, Jens & Holstein, Bjørn Evald & Damsgaard, Mogens Trab & Andersen, Per Kragh, 2002. "Cohabitation and marital status as predictors of mortality--an eight year follow-up study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 673-679, August.
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    8. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Wagstaff, Adam & van der Burg, Hattem & Christiansen, Terkel & De Graeve, Diana & Duchesne, Inge & Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Gerfin, Michael & Geurts, Jose & Gross, Lorna, 2000. "Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 553-583, September.
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