To assess the pattern of and factors associated with geriatrics′ utilisation of health services.
A cross-sectional, study involving a random sample of 266 elderly subjects registered in the primary health care centres in Burraidah city, Saudi Arabia.
The primary health care centres in Qassim Region, Saudi Arabia.
Data was collected from PHC centres-registered elderly subjects at their homes. Information including utilisation of primary health centres, hospital admissions and duration of hospital stay were recorded.
The response rate was 96.7%. Twenty percent of the sample had not used any health services facility during the previous year. Two-thirds of subjects made visits to the primary health care centres, majority of them having made 6 visits or less. Significant factors positively associated with those visits were female, advancing age, and having a family. Three-quarters of the sample did not have hospital admissions. Significant factors positively associated with admissions were diabetes mellitus, hypertension, paralysis, advanced age, and living with a family.
Geriatric health services utilisation by the study sample is affected by family ties and the high prevalence of chronic diseases. Subjects living alone or crippled by immobility may not be able to utilise available health services properly. Community based geriatrics services can help this vulnerable group.