Health-related quality of life and co-morbidities among older adults in Bhutan
Introduction: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is a multi-dimensional construct that assesses an individual’s and group’s perceived physical and mental health over time. Measurement of HRQoL is an important medical outcome study and its study among older adults in Bhutan is limited.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study aimed to assess HRQoL and its sociodemographic and health correlates, among older adults in Bhutan. Data for this study was collected from the four major towns of Thimphu, Phuntsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrupjongkhar, Bhutan, from November 2014 - February 2015, using structured questionnaire with face-to-face interview. A total of 337 Bhutanese older adults participated in this study. Statistical analysis was performed using statistical package for social science version 21.0.
Results: The overall mean score for the HRQoL among older adults in this study was 0.67 (SD: 0.13) significantly different between the gender (p-value<0.001). A significantly low scores in
the areas of role limitations (p<0.05), pain (p<0.01), mental health (p<0.001), and vitality (p<0.05) of the HRQoL was observed for the female gender. Frequent back pain (67.1%), memory decline (60.5%), depression (46.0%) mobility impairment (45.4%), insomnia (42.1%), and problem affecting breathing (31.8%) were common health problems and were significantly higher among the female gender. Better health conditions was positively related with better HRQoL (p-value<0.001).
Conclusions: Low HRQoL was reported higher among female gender and was linked to multiple and cumulative health morbidities. Members of the family, community and healthcare providers could incorporate holistic approach to foster positive health outcomes and HRQoL of the older adults.