Title

Healthcare Seeking Behaviour Among Chinese Elderly

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2017

Publication Title

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

DOI

10.1108/IJHCQA-10-2015-0132

ISSN

0952-6862

Abstract

Purpose: The Chinese population is rapidly ageing before they are rich. The purpose of this paper is to describe healthcare seeking behaviour and the critical factors associated with healthcare seeking behaviour.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Using a purposive sampling method, the authors recruited 44 adults aged 60 years or older from three provinces, representing the developed (Shanghai), undeveloped (Ningxia) regions and the regions in between (Hubei). From July to September 2008, using a semi-structured guide, the authors interviewed participants in focus group discussions.

Findings: The healthcare needs for chronic and catastrophic diseases were high; however, the healthcare demands were low and healthcare utilizations were even lower owing to the limited accessibility to healthcare services, particularly, in underdeveloped rural areas. “Too expensive to see a doctor” was a prime complaint, explaining substantial discrepancies between healthcare needs, demands and use. Care seeking behaviour varied depending on insurance availability, perceived performance, particularly hospital services, and prescription medications. Participants consistently rated increasing healthcare accessibility as a high priority, including offering financial aid, and improving service convenience. Improving social security fairness was the first on the elderly’s wish list.

Originality/Value: Healthcare demand and use were lower than needs, and were influenced by multiple factors, primarily, service affordability and efficiency, perceived performance and hospital service quality.

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