Utilization of outpatient healthcare services among elderly people with hypertension in Ghana
Micheal Kofi Boachie
Background: Aging population has become one of the most pressing demographic phenomena in the world. The situation presents challenges to the health sector due to the higher number of chronic diseases (e.g., hypertension) that the situation presents. One of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases is hypertension, and its management may reduce such risk. Therefore, this study examines the factors affecting outpatient healthcare utilization among the elderly for the management of hypertension. Methods: Using data from the 2007/2008 Global Aging and Adult Health (SAGE) study on Ghana, this study investigated the determinants of outpatient healthcare utilization among 332 elderly persons with hypertension in Ghana. Chi-square test of association and logistic regression model were used to examine the effect of socio-economic factors on outpatient healthcare use. Results: The analysis was conducted on 332 elderly persons suffering from hypertension in Ghana. Out of this number, 78.61% utilized outpatient healthcare services in the 12 months prior to the SAGE Ghana Wave 1 survey. Patients with health insurance constituted 51.51% of the sample; and this was a significant determinant of healthcare use. There was a statistically significant positive association between patients’ age and use of outpatient healthcare services. Outpatient healthcare utilization increased for persons in the 70–79 age group and below. After this, outpatient healthcare use declined. Education, household wealth, location, and sex of the patient did not have any significant effect on outpatient healthcare service utilization. Conclusion: The level of outpatient healthcare use was higher among elderly patients. Membership of health insurance plan is a major factor affecting the use of outpatient healthcare services in managing hypertension among the elderly. Factors such as education, household wealth, location, and sex did not have any significant influence on outpatient healthcare consumption patterns for elderly hypertensive patients.