The presented report was prepared within the research project called 'The system of old age and disability pensions for farmers and medical services for the elderly in the opinions of two generations' which was implemented by the Institute for Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2001-2003. The main aim of the conducted research was to analyse the health care situation of the older residents of rural areas. The investigation also covered the relations between the local communities' needs in respect of medical services and the possibilities of satisfying these needs, as well as the differences in access to health care and social welfare institutions of persons representing various age groups. Financial problems encountered by elderly persons in connection with the necessary expenditures on health care were also examined. The conducted research was designed to show how often the residents of rural areas use the services of private medical institutions and whether and to what an extent the financial situation of patients is a barrier blocking their access to this sector of medical services. It was also sought to identify the factors that decide about the more or less frequent use of services offered by private medical institutions and to establish whether the position of the older residents of rural areas was less favourable in this respect than that of the other members of the rural community, as well as to reveal the structure and level of expenditures on medical treatment. The indispensable information was provided by surveys of 300 households situated in the rural communes of Swietokrzyskie and Podlaskie voivodeships, which are characterised by a higher than average level of advancement of the process of the rural population's aging.
B. Piecek, Instytut Rozwoju Wsi i Rolnictwa PAN, ul. Nowy Swiat 72, 00-330 Warszawa, Poland
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