Major medical and social needs of disabled rural inhabitants.
I D ID Karwat 1 1 - Ann Agric Environ Med 1998; 5 (2): ICID: 4631
A considerable increase in the number of the disabled has been observed in Poland during the last two decades, especially in rural areas, and constitutes a serious social and economic problem. It is therefore necessary to continue work on the detailed definition of disability and to develop new disability qualification-classification methods (evaluation of the degree of invalidity). The all-Polish study of the state of health of rural population has considerably extended the knowledge of the problems experienced by this population group. The survey covered 1,491 people, including 779 females (52.2%) and 712 males (47.8%). The primary aim of the study was the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the medical and social situation of disabled adult rural inhabitants. The paper presents the basis on which respondents were classified as disabled, an analysis of their health and social situation, and analysis of their medical and social needs. The features were determined which distinguish subpopulations of those with legally ascribed categories of invalidity from those who have no legal decision concerning invalidity, and factors which distinguish farmers from non-farmers. The most frequent causes of disability were cardiovascular diseases, followed by diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, diseases of the nervous system and sense organs, and respiratory diseases. As much as 93.7% of the total number of the disabled required diagnostic and treatment procedures. A great demand for specialist treatment was observed among the youngest disabled aged 20-34. It was noted that the provision of orthopaedic and rehabilitation equipment, as well as of auxiliary aids, was highly insufficient from the aspect of both quality and quantity. Only 17% of the total number of disabled who expressed needs (130 out of 765 persons) were provided with such equipment. Only 8 people had a full range of technical adjustments in their dwellings. The disabled mentioned the following problems which significantly disturbed their functioning in everyday life: material difficulties, need for providing care for another disabled member of the family, the lack of independent lodging and proper employment. The study shows that the health, social and economic situation of the disabled rural inhabitants is very difficult. Further studies of this problem are needed, as well as the organization of medical, rehabilitation and social aid in this micro-environment.