ERIC Number: ED298366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Nonmedical Factors in Elderly Outpatient Care--The Relationship between Formal and Informal Support Systems.
Barer, Barbara M.; Johnson, Colleen L.
An ongoing project is being conducted in San Francisco, California to study the social and psychological factors among the elderly which influence their utilization of outpatient health services. A preliminary study of the project explored associations between the informal support network and the formal social support system as they converged in the delivery of outpatient services. Objective, subjective, and observational data were collected on 100 patients aged 65 years and older who were drawn from four major hospital clinics in the city. Patient medical records were examined and interviews were conducted with outpatients and with clinic staff. An initial assumption that latent social needs would be a significant factor in predicting high rates of clinic use was not supported. In fact, those elderly with better social supports were more likely to go to the clinic for non-serious complaints. Findings suggest that comprehensive socially-oriented outpatient care may forestall hospitalization or reduce the number of hospitalized days. Thus the possibility is suggested that a setting which encourages use ultimately might be more economical. Current research is underway to identify linkages between the informal and formal networks in order to establish those situations in which the formal system in health care settings complements the informal system and those in which it substitutes or compensates for deficiencies in the informal system. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society on Aging (34th, San Diego, CA, March 18-22, 1988).