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Prevalence and factors associated with functional dependency in homebound elderly people in Brazil

Gracielle Pampolim, Christiane Lourenço, Vanezia Gonçalves da Silva, Maria Carlota de Rezende Coelho, Luciana Carrupt Machado Sogame


Introduction: Population ageing is a worldwide reality that requires attention, and a concern for healthy and functional ageing is increasingly the focus of government policies and programmes.

Objective: To identify the prevalence of homebound elderly people, and the influence of sociodemographic and economic characteristics on their functional dependency.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 178 homebound elderly people assisted by a family healthcare unit in Vitória, ES, Brazil. Functional independence was measured by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and the sociodemographic and economic variables were collected by a questionnaire developed by the authors. Binary logistic regression was used to determine the influence of the sociodemographic and economic characteristics on the risk of being functionally dependent.

Results: Forty-eight percent of the participants were functional dependents, 80% were female, 72% belonged to the fourth age, 74% were white, 63% were widowed, 78% had retired, 90% had children, 83% had a caregiver, 52% had low education and 40% had low income. Logistic regression indicated that having a caregiver increased by 40 times the chance of being functionally dependent (OR = 40.2; 95%CI 4.8–355.4) and having between one to eight years of education decreased the chance of functional dependency (OR = 0.2; 95%CI 0.04-0.9).

Conclusions: The prevalence of functional dependency was very high in this sample, and since the presence of a caregiver was the strongest and significant predictor of functional dependency, we suggest that guidance and support should be offered to caregivers, followed   by a family healthcare strategy, to make consistent efforts with the objective of improving  functional recovery and independence of homebound elderly.


Homebound Elderly; Functional Dependence; Family Health Strategy.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7322/jhgd.127747

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