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Investigating the Healthcare Challenges and Quality of Life of Homebound Elderly Patients

Presenters Name: 
Joyce Cheng
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Nengliang (Aaron) Yao
Secondary Research Mentor: 
3:00 - 3:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 3:00pm to 3:15pm
Room 389
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

The aging of the global population is associated with an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and functional impairments, resulting in a greater proportion of homebound patients. Homebound status prevents people from accessing hospitals, office-based medical care, and social interactions. My research questions were: What physical, mental, and social factors impact elderly homebound patients’ self-perceived quality of life? How does becoming homebound affect an individual’s lifestyle and how do people adjust to this change? What challenges do homebound individuals face in regards to accessing healthcare and what could be improved? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants residing around Charlottesville. The interview transcripts were analyzed using a qualitative thematic analysis approach and NVivo software. An a priori topical coding scheme was developed based on the interview guide, and open coding was used to capture emerging concepts. Responses showed that a majority of participants became homebound due to physical conditions. They only left their home around 1-3 times per week, typically with assistance, and primarily to go to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store. Transportation limitations were a major barrier for accessing healthcare and community activities, causing patients to feel dependent and isolated. Patients appreciated healthcare providers who demonstrated effective communication, listening, care, and respect. Patients who engaged in more personal relationships and hobbies tended to possess a more positive outlook on life. These observations may help researchers and physicians better understand the healthcare experiences and personal priorities of elderly homebound patients, informing the development of effective and empathetic home-based care.