Eric W. Jamoom, M.S., Elena M. Andresen, Ph.D., Britta Neugaard, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sarah L. McKune, M.P.H.
Overall, disparities exist in preventive health care services for people with disabilities compared with other Americans. Little is known about the effects of caregiving on preventive services use. This study examines caregiver characteristics and influence on the use of preventive services for people with disabilities.
The 2000-2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of 25 states included 5486 self-reported respondents with disabilities who were surveyed for preventive care use. Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for demographic and functional status of these respondents.
Among the subset of the respondents with caregivers, those with paid caregivers were significantly more likely to receive an influenza vaccination (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-1.93). Among those with a caregiver, those with a spouse/partner caregiver were also significantly more likely to receive an influenza vaccination (adjusted OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.05-1.69) or PPV (adjusted OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.41-2.38) compared with those with “other” as their caregiver. Women with disabilities with a spouse/partner caregiver were significantly more likely to have ever had a Pap test (adjusted OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.41-6.67) or mammogram (adjusted OR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.23-2.70) than those with “other” relative caregiver. Those respondents who reported “rarely adequate” caregiver satisfaction were significantly more likely to have self-reported ever having colon cancer screening compared with those with a usually adequate caregiver. The majority of results did not show consistent evidence of caregiver benefit, and a fair number of the associations were not statistically significant.
The findings suggest that having a caregiver is not consistently associated with self-report of ever using preventive services. However, this study suggests that caregiver characteristics are associated with preventive care for people with disabilities. For influenza vaccination, our results showed that paid caregivers were more likely to provide preventive care to individuals with disability than a spouse or partner, which were more likely to provide more preventive care than those with “other” caregiver. Given the number of comparisons, we consider these results to be preliminary and require more confirmation in other population data.