Factors affecting unmet healthcare needs of older people in Korea
Article first published online: 15 AUG 2013
© 2013 International Council of Nurses
International Nursing Review
Volume 60, Issue 4, pages 510–519, December 2013
How to Cite
Ahn, Y.H., Kim, N.H., Kim, C.B. and Ham, O.K. (2013), Factors affecting unmet healthcare needs of older people in Korea. International Nursing Review, 60: 510–519. doi: 10.1111/inr.12055
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 15 AUG 2013
- Korean Government. Grant Number: NRF-2010-413-B00024
- Assessment of Healthcare Needs;
- Chronic Diseases;
- Older People
Despite the fact that the National Health Insurance programmes have ensured universal coverage for Koreans, disparities in access to health care and unmet healthcare needs still exist in Korea.
The purpose of this study was to analyse factors affecting unmet healthcare needs of older people in Korea.
This study had a cross-sectional, descriptive design using secondary data taken from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey conducted in 2007–2009. A complex sampling design was used, and the participants included a nationally representative sample of 3943 people older than 64 years. Socio-demographic variables, subjective health, existence of chronic diseases, quality of life and unmet healthcare needs were included in the study instruments. Logistic regression analyses were performed in order to examine the relationship between unmet healthcare needs and independent variables.
According to the results, 29.4% of older women and 14.0% of older men had not visited clinics or hospitals when they needed to obtain healthcare services (unmet healthcare needs) during the past 12 months. Older women [odds ratio (OR) = 1.831, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.428–2.347] and those with poor subjective health (OR = 1.708, 95% CI = 1.371–2.126) and arthritis (OR = 1.278, 95% CI = 1.029–1.586) were more likely to have unmet healthcare needs than their counterparts.
Efforts to decrease unmet healthcare needs, targeting high-risk groups (especially for older women), are needed in order to prevent disability, decrease mortality and promote the quality of life of older people.