Community-dwelling older adults and their informal carers call for more attention to psychosocial needs : Interview study on unmet care needs in three European countries
Van Aerschot, Lina; Kadi, Selma; Rodrigues, Ricardo; Hrast, Maša Filipovič; Hlebec, Valentina; Aaltonen, Mari (2022)
Van Aerschot, Lina
Hrast, Maša Filipovič
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Background: Unmet care needs are usually defined in terms of receiving sufficient help in instrumental activities and activities of daily living. Research on unmet needs is mostly based on quantitative data. Older persons’ and informal carers’ views and experiences have received less attention. Methods: In this paper, we rely on a definition of unmet needs which includes both unmet needs due to insufficient care and those situations where informal carers experience undue strain. Using theory-driven content analysis, we examine community-dwelling older adults’ and their informal carers’ experiences of unmet needs: what kind of unmet needs they have, why and in which ways these needs are left unmet and what would they want to do to improve the situation. The data consists of interviews gathered in Austria, Finland and Slovenia. Results: Results of the analysis reveal that unmet needs are largely psychosocial in nature. The predominating task-oriented care systems often do not consider these as care needs. Using methods of qualitative content analysis, we conclude that care users’ unmet psychosocial needs are related to lacking a personal relationship with care workers; means to maintain or develop social contacts and pursue activities and interests; and adequate home care services or respite care. Excessive responsibilities are put on informal carers as they top up and fill in the insufficient care. Conclusions: This study contributes to a broader understanding of unmet care needs: the relational aspects of care and the universal nature of psychosocial care needs should be addressed in care services.
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