Cluster Analysis of Psychogeriatric Characteristics and Service Use Among Rural Elders
AbstractIn developing models of psychiatric service delivery, nurses must be able to target groups on the basis of their health status and service needs. This investigation attempted to develop profiles of rural elderly, a significant risk population, by subjecting data on the psychogeriatric nursing status and health services utilization of 125 subjects to cluster-analytic methods. The cluster analysis yielded a three-cluster model: Cluster 1 (n = 39) predominantly comprised unmarried women in moderate health, but with a high degree of health service utilization; Cluster 2 (n = 53) had rural elders with moderate physical impairments, self-perceptions of poor health, and moderate health service utilization; and Cluster 3 (n = 33) comprised elders with severe cognitive and physical impairments and high health service utilization. Cluster 2 subjects were judged to be mild users of services because they were younger and married without a regular source of health care. Because subjects in Cluster I tended to be unmarried women who lived alone, with mild to moderate physical impairments and a regular source of health care, these subjects were assessed as moderate users of services. Cluster 3, which comprised the oldest and most impaired, both physically and cognitively, were judged to be intensive users of services.