J Med Assoc Thai 2020; 103 (4):65

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Caregivers’ Burdens and Barriers in Accessing Healthcare Services for Dependent Elders in Thailand
Srisatidnarakul B , Bunthumporn N Mail

Background: Elders report poor health status and a greater need for healthcare services; however, in Thailand there are barriers in accessing healthcare services for these individuals.
Objective: To study the health status of dependent elders in Thailand, the barriers in accessing health services for them, the impact resulting from these barriers, and the impact on caregivers when taking care of dependent elders.

Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in 4 provinces in Thailand: Nonthaburi, Pathumthani, Ayutthaya, and Lopburi. Data were collected from 243 home-bound and bed-bound elders and 124 caregivers. The research tools both qualitative and quantitative parts were used to interview dependent elders and their primary caregivers.

Results: The study found that 96.5% of the dependent elders had chronic disease comorbidity with non-communicable. The barriers in accessing health services included long waits for healthcare services, transportation expenses to these services, medical expenses, no mobility support or body assist tools, no accessibility to information, unawareness of their rights in terms of medical treatment, and caregiver issues. These barriers affected the dependent elders regarding their physical and mental health and financial issues. Moreover, taking care of dependent elders had the impact on caregivers in terms of physical and mental health, family relationships, social participation, and financial issues.

Conclusion: There are still barriers in accessing health services for dependent elders. Furthermore, taking care of them is caregivers’ burden. Therefore, caregivers should be supported.

Keywords: Caregivers’ burden, Barriers in accessing healthcare services, Dependent elders


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