Using the MDS-HC to Assess Health Status and Care Needs of the Elderly Living Alone

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Chia-Chi Chang, PhD, RN1
Yi-Jung Wu, MS2
Li-Min Kuo, PhD1
(1)School of Gerontology Health Management, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
(2)Xinyi District Health Center,Taipei City, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

The aim of the study was to understand the health status, care needs, and the predicative factors that influence their care needs among elderly living alone. The cross-sectional study was conducted and a total of 151participants were enrolled. The interviewers assessed their health status and care needs by using MDS-HC instruments. The results indicated that who are predominantly male, widowed, and illiterate or with only an elementary school education; their average age is 82.18 years old. In terms of health, the ADL and IADL function are generally good. The 70.9% of participants was having visual impairment. On average, each person have two chronic disease which are most commonly high blood pressure and cataract. The 13.9% of the participants took at least nine medicines. The 87% of the participants were having poor living environment. Each of them has six to seven care needs. The most important care needs were pain control, social interaction needs, and visual function. There were no significant difference between gender and health status. However, significant differences were founded between age, marital status, education, living conditions and the health status. Regarding the result of the regression, the overall health status can predict the care needs. The main related factors of the predictive care needs, in decreasing order, are teeth (β=2.265, p=0.000), environmental condition (β=0.563, p=0.000), social function (β=0.355, p=0.02), health and preventive care (β=0.128, p=0.05), medical treatment (β=0.128, p=0.012), and physical function (β=0.112, p=0.001). The overall explanatory power is 71.4%.

Based on the study results, we should pay more attention to the condition of their teeth, living environment, social function, and health, as well as preventive care, medical treatment, and physical function. It were suggested about the community health care: (1) provide home care regarding the oral hygiene; (2) assess and improve the safety of living environments; (3) encourage seniors to participate in activities designed for them in order to reduce their social isolation and loneliness; (4) offer elderly people related health examinations and counseling, especially visual and audio and oral checks; and (5) integrate seniors’ polypharmacy problem and long-term life care assistance to improve elderly people’s quality of life.