Biomedical Research

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Do economic conditions and in-kind benefits make needy patients bond together? Insights from cross-section data on clusters of co-located patients in Vietnam

Introduction: The phenomenon of desperate patients living together in voluntary co-location clusters has been emerging over the past decade in Vietnam. Patients seek to share facilities, reduce costs and rely on one another for support to make life safer and less miserable. There has not been much research on these clusters and patients' bonding to their community.

Methods: The study uses a cross-section data set containing 336 observations from four patients’ colocation clusters, collected from 2015 Q4 to 2016 Q1. The analysis employs the baseline category logits model for dichotomous variable, and reports logistic regression results. The main hypothesis is both economic conditions and in-kind benefits received from the community have influence on patients' bonding to their community.

Results: Both personal economic conditions and benefits are found statistically significant, but the inkind benefits decrease the bonding strength of the community, while the impact of economic instability is as expected. The strongest factor that serves to bond the patients together is the free will and predetermination of patients themselves to join the community.

Discussion: Patients in unstable conditions will more likely to stick to the co-location community. But those in better economic conditions show a more complex need and their perceptions change depending on the specific conditions. In-kind benefits are not what poorer patients expect and when they see these benefits from the community as “substitutes” for financial means, their expectation of sticking to the community declines.

Author(s): Quan Hoang Vuong, Ha Nguyen