National Survey of Self-Care and Aging (NSSCA), 1990-1994
Investigators: Gordon H. DeFriese & Jean E. Kincade Norburn

The National Survey of Self-Care and Aging (NSSCA) is a population-based, national longitudinal survey of noninstitutionalized Medicare beneficiaries. The survey was conducted by researchers at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The survey was designed to represent the population of Medicare beneficiaries in the contiguous United States who were not institutionalized (residing in a nursing home, rest home, or other full-care facility) and who were at least 65 years of age in 1990.

A multistage stratified random sampling design was used to select eligible respondents from this population. The survey was conducted in two waves. The baseline survey was an in-person survey and was conducted between 1990 and 1991. The objective of the baseline survey was to develop a national database on self-care behaviors practiced by noninstitutional elderly adults. The baseline survey collected information about activities of daily living, functional limitations, self-care behaviors, general health, chronic health conditions, incontinence, health service usage, equipment use, medication, social support, and social and economic resources.

The follow-up survey was a telephone survey and was conducted in 1994. The objective of the follow-up survey was to continue examination of the health status and self-care practices of individuals who were interviewed at baseline. During the follow-up, three types of telephone interviews were conducted -- full-length follow-up interviews, institutionalized interviews (with a proxy respondent) for subjects who had been institutionalized since baseline, and decedent interviews (with a proxy respondent) for subjects who had died since baseline. The full-length follow-up interview collected information on the topics listed above as well as information on changes in health status since baseline and nursing home visits since baseline. The institutionalized interview gathered information regarding demographic status, living arrangements prior to institutionalization, and reasons for institutionalization. The decedent interview collected information on nursing home admissions and date and place of death.

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