An exploration of strategies used by older people to obtain information about health- and social care services in the community
Mc Grath, Margaret
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Mc Grath, Margaret; Clancy, Kathleen; Kenny, Anne (2015). An exploration of strategies used by older people to obtain information about health- and social care services in the community. Health Expectations 19 (5), 1150-1159
Purpose To explore the strategies used by older people living in Ireland to obtain information about community health and social services. Methods A qualitative exploratory design was used. Focus groups (n = 3) were conducted with community dwelling older people (n = 17). A series of vignettes were used to guide discussion regarding hypothetical situations that approximated real-life scenarios for older people. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis. Results Obtaining information about community health and social services is an ongoing process that requires continuous commitment by older adults. Key strategies which emerged from the data included (i) taking a proactive stance towards accessing health information, (ii) making use of personal networks in your community and (iii) developing 'insider' knowledge. Conclusion Older people in this study had a proactive approach to obtaining health information and identified the importance of taking responsibility for managing their own needs. Despite this, obtaining basic information about community health and social services was a challenging and time-consuming process. Future research should focus on developing health literacy interventions that build upon and expand the strategies currently used by older people.