Individual and Geographic Predictors of Formal and Informal Care Patterns and Nursing Home Placement Risk among Rural Appalachian Elders
Bivens, Laura R.
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A variety of individual and geographic factors influence the mix of formal and informal services utilized by older adults and their families along the continuum of care. This study focuses on a specific rural population in the United States - Central and South Central Appalachia, which experiences the triple jeopardy of vulnerable people (older adults) in vulnerable places (rural Appalachia), with cultural views and beliefs that may negatively impact the care they receive. Using Andersen’s behavioral model of service utilization, Soldo’s supplementation model of care, and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory as the theoretical frameworks, data from the Older Families in Rural Communities: Personal and Social Influences on Service Use project and the United States 2000 Census were used to examine the utilization of informal and formal care services and nursing home placement risk in a rural Appalachian population. The main goals of this research were to (a) examine the relationships among individual and geographic characteristics and determine how those relationships affect the utilization of informal-formal care-mix, and (b) determine how the informal-formal care-mix is associated with nursing home placement risk in older adults living in rural southwest Virginia. Two separate analyses were completed in order to address the research objectives. First, a multinomial regression model, including both individual and geographic data, was used to predict care-mix. Second, after calculating the outcome variable “nursing home placement risk” via a derived logistic regression equation, a log-linear analysis with a 3×4 contingency table was computed in order to understand the association between care-mix and nursing home placement risk. Results indicate that disparities in sex and poverty level in an area that already suffers from healthcare disparities significantly affect the type of care an older adult receives. When formal care was utilized, it was more often added to existing informal care systems, supplementing them, rather than replacing them. The type of care-mix individuals received was also associated with nursing home placement risk. Specifically, when informal support was the only source of care, nursing home placement risk was significantly higher than when informal-formal care-mix was received. Research and policy implications for disparity-ridden areas are discussed.
- Doctoral Dissertations