Does Social Support Affect Older Adults’ General Practitioner Attendance Rates? Findings from the North West Coast Household Health Survey

Giebel, Clarissa ORCID: 0000-0002-0746-0566, Rodgers, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0002-4483-0845, Barr, Ben ORCID: 0000-0002-4208-9475, Collins, Brendan ORCID: 0000-0002-3023-8189, Akpan, Asangaedem ORCID: 0000-0002-1764-8669, Shenton, Justine, Fuller, Elizabeth and Gabbay, Mark ORCID: 0000-0002-0126-8485
(2021) Does Social Support Affect Older Adults’ General Practitioner Attendance Rates? Findings from the North West Coast Household Health Survey. Clinical Gerontologist: the journal of aging and mental health, 44 (4). pp. 381-391.

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Objective The aim of this study was to explore whether social support and socio-economic status have an effect on primary care attendance in older adults (aged 65+). Methods This study used data from the longitudinal North West Coast (NWC) Household Health Survey (HHS) from across 20 disadvantaged and 8 less disadvantaged neighborhoods. Data included the EQ-5D, social support, frailty-related measures, healthcare utilization, and the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Principal component analysis was used to derive a factor for social support. Poisson regression analysis was employed to explore the effects of frailty, social support, General Practitioner (GP) distance, education, IMD, living situation, and depression on the number of GP attendances in the past 12 months. Results 1,685 older adults were included in this analysis. Of those older adults who visited their GP (87.4%), most had visited their GP twice in the past 12 months. Having an educational qualification, higher levels of social support, and being physically fit reduced GP utilization. Being moderately frail, depressed, and living further away from the nearest GP increased attendance. Older adults living in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to visit their GP. Conclusions Increasing social support impacts to a small, but important, extent on reducing GP attendance in older adults. Future research needs to explore whether improving social support in old age can reduce GP utilization. Clinical Implications Findings suggest a need for improving social prescribing in older adults to reduce some GP visits which could be avoided and might not be necessary.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Older adults, healthcare utilization, health inequalities, social support, frailty, health economics
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2020 07:41
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:49
DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2020.1783044
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