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BMC Health Serv Res. 2007 Oct 24;7:174.

The perception of healthcare quality of elderly in the city of Bari, South Italy.

Author information

1
1Section of Hygiene Department of Scienze Mediche e del Lavoro, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy. r.prato@unifg.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In recent decades in Italy, as in all the industrialized nations, the proportion of elderly subjects in the total population is constantly on the increase. However the increased life expectancy is not always paralleled by a true improvement in the quality of life. In this context, it is essential to analyze elderly real health needs and the responses to these needs, especially in terms of healthcare, that the territorial services are perceived to offer.

METHODS:

In the period from June to September 2006 we selected randomly one General Practitioner (GP) for each district of the Bari Municipal Area and, form each GP, we randomly chose 25 patients over 65 years old (YO). We conducted phone interviews using a standard data collection questionnaire and, for each of the recruited subjects, the GP filled a data collection sheet.

RESULTS:

Although the mean age (73.6 years) of the population under study was quite high, the general state of health was judged good both by the G P- and by their elderly patients (>75%).Notably, the great majority of elderly patients considered the healthcare they receive to be satisfactory (>60%): in particular, the GP was the true point of reference for this slice of the population for strictly medical problems as well as for advice. On the contrary, the patients attributed little value to social services, which were poorly known and scarcely used (8.5%). Public hospital facilities played a central role in second level healthcare in more than 30% of cases; private facilities covered by public health insurance were also very important. As possible solutions to the problem of loneliness, 36.6% of the patients declared that they approved of nursing homes.

CONCLUSION:

Decision makers need to create services supporting the key role played by General Practitioners, who are well aware that their assistance is not sufficient to satisfy the health needs of the elderly.

PMID:
17958909
PMCID:
PMC2194769
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6963-7-174
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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