INFORMATION FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE: A VITAL BUT MISSING LINK IN COMMUNITY CARE
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The aim of this thesis has been to explore the interrelationship between elderly people and information. A case-study approach was adopted which examined whether the information needs of elderly people (consumers) in relation to community care had, in their perception. been addressed by the Information Strategy developed by the Social Services Department of one shire county (providers) in response to the Community Care Act 1990 to provide information about its services and how to access them. Two key findings emerge from the research. Firstly, elderly people's information needs in relation to community care have not been addressed by the Information Strategy. Secondly, the Strategy has encountered a number of implementation problems, namely communication difficulties, interagency issues and the gatekeeping role of frontline staff in information provision. The findings from the thesis suggest that a Community Care Information Strategy should be based on three key elements. It should acknowledge that elderly people are likely to comprise the largest single group in receipt of community care services. It should recognise that potential and current users of community care services are a heterogeneous group, with a diverse range of information and service needs. Finally, it should be based on an understanding of the information seeking behaviour of potential and current users of community care services and their preferred methods of information provision, and on an awareness of the likely barriers to information which may be in operation.
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