Dynamics of health information-seeking behaviour among older adults with very low incomes in Ghana: a qualitative study

Williams AGYEMANG-DUAH*, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Charles PEPRAH, Dina ADEI, Prince PEPRAH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

1 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Background
Exploration of health information-seeking behaviour among older adults with very low incomes is critical in shaping our understanding of how health information is sought in later life. Although studies have focused on health information-seeking behaviour among older people worldwide, subjective views of older adults, especially those with very low incomes in Ghana remain scant. Thus, this study aimed to fill this significant knowledge gap by exploring health information-seeking behaviour among older adults with very low incomes in Ghana.

Methods
In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with 30 older adults with very low incomes, 15 caregivers and 15 formal healthcare providers in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of Ghana. A thematic analytical framework was used to analyse the data.

Results
The study revealed multiple sources of health information to include healthcare providers, family members, media and friends. The kind of health information sought by older adults with very low incomes consisted of information on diets, causes of chronic non-communicable diseases and medication dosage. The study also identified inadequate knowledge about the benefits of seeking health information, perceived poor attitude of healthcare providers and communication problems as the factors that limit older adults with very low incomes from acquiring health information.

Conclusion
An adequate and reliable source of information is essential to promoting the health of older people. Their inability to secure the right health information could further worsen their health status. Thus, the study provides the need for appropriate health policy interventions on the sources and types of health information sought by older adults with very low incomes in Ghana. Healthcare providers are recommended to remain open, friendly and receptive to older people to allow them to seek and obtain health information as they [healthcare providers] constitute the most reliable health information source.
Original languageEnglish
Article number928 (2020)
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Ethics approval was granted by the Committee on Human Research Publication and Ethics (CHRPE), School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana (Ref: CHRPE/AP/311/18). The purpose of the study was also explained to the study participants before their informed written and verbal consent was obtained. Again, they were assured of the strict confidentiality and anonymity of the data they provided. They were further assured that their participation in the study was voluntary and that they were free to opt-out at any time.

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • Health information-seeking behaviour
  • Health policy
  • Healthcare providers
  • Older adults with very low incomes

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