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Use Of Probability For Healthcare Needs Of The Elderly

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In 1998, Dr Zhibin Liu identified and integrated various parameters that helped the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, to efficiently predict the requirement of old-age healthcare needs of a given sample of population. Nursing homes typically provide medical and healthcare facilities to the aged. By focusing on the probability of nursing home usage, the research served the purpose of government to develop necessary medical infrastructure, the insurance companies could utilize it for long-term care insurance policies and service providers (Nursing home administrators) could plan better service delivery strategies.

 The research method includes categorizing a given population into those who have never used the nursing home, those who have used is at least once but are out of it and third category are those who are already in the nursing homes. Then the categories are sub-grouped according age range, sex and past history of nursing home usage. This method is known as the “Life Table” technique. Usually, the probability of using a nursing home is calculated for those who reach the threshold age of 65. In the past, researchers have also utilized death certificates to determine if the individual died in the nursing home or not, this type of research model had loopholes as it could not be extrapolated for the entire population accurately.

 The research outcome predicted the probability of nursing home usage by a new born girl to be 34% in her lifetime if the life expectancy and mortality factor remain constant. For males the corresponding probability drops to 20%. However, as the age approaches 90 the gap between the probabilities diminishes considerably; a very likely phenomenon. Another interesting result has been the high probability of 95% for women more than the age of 90 indicating the inevitability of nursing home usage for them. While, men at the same age comparatively less like at just 60% when the reach the age of 95.

 The results of this research and application of probability provides great onus to the governing bodies for planning better healthcare facilities, allocating finances towards the nursing sector and greatly improves the retirement planning for the individuals.


Liu Z 1998. “The probability of nursing home use over a lifetime”. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Welfare Division Working Paper no. 16).

Available on: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/wwp/wwp16/wwp16.pdf

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