What do we know about the Quality of Healthcare Among Seniors?
Kosiak B, Sangl J, Correa-de-Araujo R.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Maryland, USA. [email protected]
As the proportion of the population age 65 and over continues to grow-to a projected 20.5% or 77.2 million by the year 2040-tracking the quality, access, and receipt of care for older women becomes more important, since the majority of older citizens are women. This article establishes a rough baseline for the quality of care, primarily preventive care, received by older women compared to older men, using selected measures and data of the 2004 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report. It highlights significant differences between women and men, as well as differences for racial, ethnic, and educational subgroups. Generally, older non-Hispanic white women frequently score higher than their Hispanic and non-Hispanic black counterparts, and more educated women often score significantly higher than their less-educated peers on several measures of quality of care. Compared to their male counterparts, older women are significantly less likely to have any colorectal screening test, to keep high blood pressure under control, and to receive aspirin or beta-blockers upon hospital admission or discharge for acute myocardial infarction. Results are mixed for the process measures related to diabetes, but improvements are clearly needed toward increased rates of eye and foot examinations. Rates of influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations are low but can be improved through Medicare-covered services. We also found that older women are screened less often for breast cancer than those ages 40 to 64. There is still a pervasive lack of knowledge in the research and clinical communities about the unique health care needs of and appropriate processes of care for older adults. More research needs to focus on the quality of care for this growing population in order to allow the development of geriatric-based quality measures and models of care that will set the standards of healthcare for older adults in general, and older women in particular.
For Full Article: WHI