Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Multiple health conditions and barriers to healthcare among older Australians: prevalence, reasons and types of barriers

Jeromey B. Temple A C and Ruth Williams B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Vic. 3010, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: jeromey.temple@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/PY17038
Submitted: 28 March 2017  Accepted: 5 September 2017   Published online: 22 November 2017

Abstract

Accompanying population ageing is an increase in the number of older Australians living with multiple health conditions and disabilities (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014). This study sought to examine the barriers to accessing healthcare faced by older Australians. Utilising the 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistics General Social Survey, it was found that 6% of respondents aged 50 years and over reported experiencing a barrier to accessing healthcare within the previous 12 months. Those with multiple health conditions are at a considerably higher risk of experiencing a barrier to healthcare (21% with four or more disabilities) compared with people with no or fewer health conditions, and this risk persists once wide-ranging control variables are included. Long waiting times or unavailability of appointments (43%) were the main type of barriers to accessing healthcare, followed by cost (23%). Points-of-care barriers experienced included accessing GPs, specialists and hospital sector care. Respondents who experienced a barrier were more likely to have low levels of trust in the healthcare system compared with people who had no experience of barriers to healthcare, and were more likely to have a perception of experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment in a healthcare setting.


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