Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Harold Griffin

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with substantial healthcare utilization costs, resulting in a public health priority. In this study, the relationship between the demographic characteristics of age, gender, and type of health insurance; the presence of comorbidities of older Puerto Rican residents diagnosed with AD; and their healthcare utilization patterns (i.e., medical office and emergency room visits and hospital admissions) was examined using Andersen's behavioral model. Data from the 2013 Puerto Rico Health Study was used in this retrospective cohort design study. All AD cases aged â?¥ 60 years were extracted using systematic random sampling. One-way ANOVA-WELCH, Mann-Whitney U test, and negative binomial regressions determined if there was a relationship between independent and dependent variables. Results indicated a statistically significant relationship between age, gender, health insurance type, and presence of comorbidities factors and healthcare utilization patterns among older Puerto Ricans with AD. From the results, opportunities were identified for further research and changes in professional practices in order to initiate discussions and action plans to improve services coordination for older Puerto Ricans with AD. Findings might impact social change by inspiring modifications to the public health infrastructure. These modifications may lead to enhanced disease management support, promoted social justice, and increased resources to improve healthcare access and quality of care, and overall enhancement of health outcomes, for Puerto Ricans living with AD.

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