Effects of family caregivers on the use of formal long-term care in South Korea

Authors

  • E.-Y. Kim RN, PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. Department of Nursing, Dong-A University, Busan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • E. Cho RN, PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. Nursing Policy Research Institute, College of Nursing, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea
    Search for more papers by this author
  • N.-J. Lee RN, PhD

    Associate Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Research Institute of Nursing Science, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
    • Correspondence address: Nam-Ju Lee, College of Nursing, Seoul National University, 405 Nursing Education Building, 103 Daehak-ro, Jomgno-gu, Seoul 110-799, South Korea; Tel: 82-2-740-8812; Fax: 82-2-392-5440; E-mail: njlee@snu.ac.kr.

    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding: This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry, Education, Science and Technology (NRF-2010-0004431).
  • Conflicts of Interest: No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

Abstract

Aim

We investigated whether the presence and characteristics of a family caregiver affect the use of formal long-term care under the new Korean long-term care system.

Background

In July 2008, Korea introduced public long-term care insurance, a form of social insurance, in order to cope with the reality of the growing elderly population and the increasing demand for long-term care.

Methods

The family caregivers of 271 applicants for long-term care insurance who had a caregiver and 36 applicants without a caregiver living in one city participated in this cross-sectional study. Data were collected from November 2010 to June 2011 using self-report questionnaires. Variables included the applicant's gender; age; physical and cognitive function; type of long-term care used; presence and type of family caregivers; caregiver's gender, age, education level, marital status, and employment status; and service use covered by long-term care insurance. Logistic multiple regression was used.

Results

The effect of the presence and characteristics of a family caregiver on the use of a long-term care facility was significant. A nursing home was used for care more frequently when the applicant had no family caregiver. An elderly subject who had a spouse as a caregiver used home healthcare services more often than nursing home services.

Conclusion

The decision to use formal services may depend not only on the care level required by the applicant, but also on the presence and type of caregivers. To successfully implement the new long-term care insurance system, consideration of the caregiver situation should be included in policy development.

Ancillary