This study uses a theoretical model to explore (a) emergency department (ED) utilization, (b) hospital admissions, and (c) office-based physician visits among sample of under-resourced African American and Latino older adults.
Nine hundred five African American and Latino older adults from an under-resourced urban community of South Los Angeles participated in this study. Data was collected using face-to-face interviews. Poisson and logistic regression analysis were used to estimate the parameters specified in the Andersen behavioral model. Predictors included predisposing factors, defined as demographic and other personal characteristics that influence the likelihood of obtaining care, and enabling factors defined as personal, family, and community resources that support or encourage efforts to access health services.
African American older adults have a greater frequency of hospital admissions, ED, and physician visits than their Latino counterparts. About 25%, 45%, and 59% of the variance of the hospital admissions, ED utilization, and physician visits could be explained by predisposing and enabling characteristics. Lower health-related quality of life was associated with a higher number of hospital admissions, ED, and physician visits. Financial strain and difficulty accessing medical care were associated with a higher number of hospital admissions. Being covered by Medicare and particularly Medi-Cal were positively associated with higher hospital admissions, ED, and physician visits.
Compared to African American older adults, Latino older adults show higher utilization of (a) emergency department (ED) utilization, (b) hospital admissions, and (c) office-based physician visits. A wide range of predisposing and enabling factors such as insurance and financial difficulties correlate with some but not other types of health care use. Multi-disciplinary, culturally sensitive, clinic- and community-based interventions are needed to address enabling and predisposing factors that influence ED utilization and hospital admission among African American and Latino older adults in under-resourced communities.