Information on elderly/at-home healthcare market?
November 8, 2007 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Information on elderly/at-home healthcare market.

As part of a research project, I'm trying to get a "bigger picture" of this elderly/at-home demographic first. I'm having trouble finding basic facts, like what are the most common health problems among this group, etc. Anyone know good resources for this type of information?
posted by superwillis to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not exactly sure if this addresses what you're asking, but the Social Work / Case Management departments of many hospitals work with the elderly, their healthcare and placement needs. Maybe try a local hospital or healthcare clinic with a geriatric clientele.

Or try to find a community nurse or home health nurse to interview.

Not scientific information, but as an RN I see some elderly who live at home and have health issues related to the following:

diabetes management
wound care
loss of physical function
chronic issues like COPD, CVD, AIDS, cancers... almost everything.

All of these things can interrupt what is called ADL's (Activities of Daily Life) and alter quality of life depending on their degree.

There is a great documentary Surfing For Life that dispels many of the myths of aging. Their website has lots of good information in the Discussion Guide.

I'd also go to the library and search some combination of "aging," "gerontological," "geriatric," "home," "healthcare;" there's a number of books on this subject. If you live near a med school, nursing school, or health sciences school go by their library and get the librarian to help you. Good luck!
posted by dog food sugar at 4:40 PM on November 8, 2007

Oh - and those diseases I listed are different for different cultures by the way. That list is pretty US specific. Any good book on aging and health will list the most common health issues.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2007
posted by RobotHeart at 6:45 PM on November 8, 2007

In the U.S., most of the people using home healthcare services are elderly or disabled, and thus covered by Medicare. However, Medicaid also covers home health benefits in some states for people who are (1) not eligible for Medicare benefits (or who exhaust their benefits) and (2) who are also poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, or spend enough money in a year on health services to qualify for Medicaid.

So, if you're interested in statistics on this demographic, your first stop should probably be poking around the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website ( It's not the best nor most intuitive interface, so I might also try to do a google search restricted to that site--I often find information I need from CMS that seems totally inaccessible from their navigation through Google. Of the top of my head, I imagine the OASIS dataset might have the information you mention about most common health problems, although I haven't actually used that dataset so I'm not sure.

If you're looking at the population within in a specific state, you might also try looking at the state Medicaid website--any data they have would probably under a section titled "long-term care" or "long-term care waiver services" or "home and community based services" or "HCBS" (most Medicaid agencies separately administer their acute and long-term care services). Since there's a whole lot of home health care not covered by Medicare, you really do want to look at what's being provided by Medicaid as well to get a complete picture.

In terms of private-pay, I think that is very difficult information to get in a systematic way, since it's all individual providers who are not necessarily regulated by some central authority who can demand information on the services provided and the population served. However, as I understand it, most private-pay home health care is for a limited time (e.g., someone hiring a home health aide to assist them after a broken hip). If someone is relying on home health care for a significant period of time, the costs will quickly become quite expensive and the vast majority of them will end up on Medicaid.

IANAExpert on Home Health Care, although I have some familiarity with the long-term care systems and statistics in a few states. Hope this gives you at least some ideas of places to look for information.
posted by iminurmefi at 5:55 AM on November 9, 2007

Wow - thanks for the responses guys. I'll definitely check these resources out. My specific interest is in medical device opportunities for this demographic, so I was interested in what chronic health problems the elderly/at-home population faced, etc. etc.

I'll try poking around, and if I find anything I'll post it for future reference for anyone who is interested.
posted by superwillis at 7:45 AM on November 12, 2007

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