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Depressive symptoms, chronic medical illness, and health care utilization: findings from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLoSA)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 March 2011

Hongsoo Kim
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Sang-Min Park
Affiliation:
Seoul National University Hospital and Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Soong-Nang Jang
Affiliation:
Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Soonman Kwon
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background: This population-based study examined the relative and combined relationships of chronic medical illness (CMI) and depressive symptoms with health care utilization among older adults in South Korea.

Methods: A nationally representative sample of 3224 older adults participating in the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLoSA) were categorized into four groups based on clinical characteristics: CMI only; depressive symptoms only; CMI and depressive symptoms; and neither CMI nor depressive symptoms. We estimated the use of various health care services by the groups while adjusting for clinical and sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: Depressive symptoms, as measured by the short-form Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale (CES-D10), were prevalent, often occurring together with CMI in community-dwelling older adults in South Korea. Having depressive symptoms was positively associated with the use of inpatient services, outpatient physician services, and public health centers. The odds of using health care services were larger among older people with both depressive symptoms and CMI than depressive symptoms only.

Conclusions: Self-reported depressive symptoms and self-reported CMI are prevalent among older adults in South Korea, often occurring together and possibly increasing health care utilization. These findings imply a need for chronic disease management targeting older people with complex mental and medical conditions and evaluation of its effects on health outcomes and service use.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2011

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