Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Is the Australian 75+ Health Assessment person-centred? A qualitative descriptive study of older people’s perceptions

Kay Price A C , Karen Grimmer B and Jan Foot B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Safety and Quality in Health Research Group, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, City East Campus, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

B International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email: karen.grimmer@unisa.edu.au

C Corresponding author. Email: kay.price@unisa.edu.au

Australian Health Review 41(6) 606-612 https://doi.org/10.1071/AH15243
Submitted: 22 December 2015  Accepted: 28 September 2016   Published: 18 November 2016

Abstract

Objective The aim of the present study was to explore the perspectives of older people following their recent participation in a 75+ Health Assessment (75+HA) and interrogate these perspectives using a person-centred lens.

Methods A qualitative descriptive study design was used within a larger study funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute. Nineteen participants from four different general practices in one Australian state described their perceptions of the 75+HA in a face-to-face interview. Data were then analysed using a qualitative content analysis approach.

Results The purpose of the 75+HA was not well understood by participants. Participant responses reveal that where, when, who and how a primary health professional conducted the 75+HA affected what older people talked about, the guidance they sought to deal with issues and, in turn, the actioning of issues that were discussed during the 75+HA.

Conclusion To enable older people to make informed decisions about and successfully manage their own health and well being, and to choose when to invite others to act on their behalf, primary health professionals need to ask questions in the 75+HA within a person-centred mindset. The 75+HA is an opportunity to ensure older people know why they need support, which ones, and agree to, supports and services they require.

What is known about the topic? The Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule includes the 75+HA, developed as a proactive primary care opportunity for general practitioners and practice nurses to identify issues affecting community-dwelling older people’s health and well being. The aim of the 75+HA is to consider a broad range of factors that could affect physical, psychological and social functioning, which, in turn, affects overall health, and the capacity of older people to live independently in the community. Underlying the 75+HA is the importance of detecting early functional decline to enable healthy aging.

What does this paper add? There is scant, if any, attention in the literature to the views of consumers who have completed a 75+HA, especially with regard to whether this opportunity is conducted with a person-centred mindset. This paper addresses this gap. Even after participating in the 75+HA, most participants were unclear as to the purpose of the assessment, what information had been recorded and what would happen from any concerns identified in the assessment. Comments about the 75+HA included that it did not ask people about their goals and what comprised their functionality to ensure their independent living.

What are the implications for practitioners? A person-centred approach requires active collaboration between primary health professionals and older people who are living the process of, and planning for, aging-in-place. Assessments like the 75+HA can assist in identifying whether older people may be experiencing early signs of functional decline, even if older people self-report living without problems in their home. Practitioners need to ask questions of older people and respond to what they say with a person-centred mindset.


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