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Older people’s challenges and expectations of healthcare in Ghana: A qualitative study

, Abigail Atakro, Janet Sintim Aboagye, Alice Aluwah Blay, Stella Boatemaa Addo, Dorcas Frempomaa Agyare, Peter Adatara, Kwaku Gyimah Amoa-Gyarteng, Awube Menlah, Isabella Garti, George Sedinam Boni, Osei Kwaku Berchie, Isaac Kwadwo Ansong
Published: 19 January 2021
PLOS ONE , Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0245451

Abstract: Background The increase in the number of elderly persons in developing countries has not had a corresponding increase in social and health care support systems for the elderly. There is a substantial difference in the quality of healthcare received by older people in developing and developed countries. Elderly persons in developing countries including Ghana are increasingly becoming marginalised and isolated. There is, however, limited evidence of healthcare challenges and expectations by elderly persons in Ghana. This study explored healthcare challenges and expectations of elderly persons to inform policy that could lead to improved quality of life for elderly persons in Ghana. Materials and methods Qualitative exploratory descriptive study design was used in conducting this study. Semi-structured interviews were used in collecting data from 30 participants from three regions in Ghana (10 from each region). Data analysis was carried out through content analysis. Results Four themes were extracted from data. These themes were: 1. Inadequate information from health workers regarding care of the older person. 2. Queuing frustrations. 3. Financial burden. 4. Focused elderly care demand. Conclusion The elderly in Ghana experience challenges of healthcare which include inadequate information, queuing frustrations and financial burdens. Elderly persons also have expectations of healthcare which include having dedicated professionals and units that will attend to them during their hospital visits. Academic and clinical gerontology experts could collaborate and help improve gerontology knowledge of health workers through workshops and conferences. Improving knowledge of health workers in gerontology may be a positive step towards meeting healthcare expectations of older Ghanaians.
Keywords: GHANA / elderly / Nurses / finance / Health insurance / Geriatrics / qualitative studies / Geriatric Care

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