Effects of Age, Mental Health, and Comorbidity on the Perceived Likelihood of Hiring a Healthcare Advocate
Background and Purpose: The projected increase in chronically ill older adults may overburden the healthcare system and compromise the receipt of quality and coordinated health care services. Healthcare advocates (HCAs) may help to alleviate the burden associated with seeking and receiving appropriate health care. We examined whether having dementia or depression, along with hypertension and arthritis, or having no comorbid medical conditions, and being an older adult, affected the perceived likelihood of hiring an HCA to navigate the health care system. Method: Participants (N = 1,134), age 18 or older, read a vignette and imagined themselves as an older adult with either a mood or cognitive disorder, and comorbid medical conditions or as otherwise being physically healthy. They were then asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their perceived likelihood of hiring an HCA. Results: Participants who imagined themselves as having dementia reported a greater likelihood of hiring an HCA than participants who imagined themselves as having depression (p < .001). Conclusion: It is imperative that health care professionals attend to the growing and ongoing needs of older adults living with chronic conditions, and HCAs could play an important role in meeting those needs.