The demographics, health related characteristics, and primary care utilization of assisted living facility residents in Montana
Despite the accelerated growth of assisted living facilities (ALF) as a housing option for elders, most research to date has focused on structural and organizational components of ALF and only a small number of studies related to health issues have been conducted. There is little information specific to the demographics and health related characteristics of ALF residents in Montana and no information regarding primary care utilization was found. This study provides information that is specific to the demographics and health related characteristics of ALF residents in Montana while delivering the first data on primary care utilization for this population. Information was collected through face-to-face interviews and medical chart reviews of a convenience sample of twenty-six ALF residents. The Mini-Mental Status Exam, Physical Self-Maintenance Scale, and Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form were utilized. ALF residents in this study were less physically disabled but depression and number of comorbid conditions was similar to other findings. Subjects of this study had higher incomes and more education, while males represented a higher percentage than was found when compared to other study findings. This study found that not all ALF residents employ the services of a primary care provider (PCP). Most ALF residents utilize a physician as a PCP and over 40 percent found traveling to the PCP office inconvenient. Results of this study found that the number of medications used and number of comorbidities were similar to other study findings. While additional research is needed, results of this study provides policy makers, community organizations, and health care providers with information that may assist in developing primary care delivery models that best meet the specific needs of ALF residents in Montana.