Viktorija Piščalkienė, Dainė Krasuckienė, Evelina Lamsodienė, Povilas Beseckas


The worldwide ongoing process of society aging includesLithuania. Aging brings certain physical and cognitive changes,most older adults have at least one chronic disease. The qualityof health and social care services is determined by organizational,technical and financial resources, but interpersonal factors areequally important. The main reasons leading to negative attitudestowards older people are: lack of knowledge about aging and pooreducation of older persons‘ changing needs, communication features.The form of semi-structured interview was prepared / createdin carrying out activities of the international project ELLAN –European Later Life Active Network (Nr. 539547-LLP-1-2013-1-FI-ERASMUS-ENW). The same form of interview, translatedinto national languages, which was used for surveys in Lithuania,Finland, Turkey and Austria. This article presents the results ofsurvey, which was carried out in Lithuania. The interview coversthree main areas: a) communication and interaction, b) self-carein daily life, c) vision of health and social care professionals.17 people (9 women and 8 men ) of the age, ranging from 65to 82 years old participated in the survey.The interviewed older people highlighted both positive andnegative features of communication with professionals, they gaveexamples of successful and unsuccessful communication experiences.Using thematic analysis, from the stories from the interview atotal of six grand themes were found.Five of the major topics were divided into smaller themes. Thematic fields included: a) sources communication barriers; b)the expression of social inequality; c) gaps of training and informationdelivery, d) the external conditions for recovery; e) internalpreconditions for recovery; f) vision of profesional pictures.Participants of the survey expressed that elements of non-verbalcommunication such as eye contact, smiling, pleasant facialexpression from the professionals were very important for them.Lack of tolerance and patience, together with raised tone of speechwere mentioned as inappropriate behavior. These examples showhow sometimes nurses and doctors communicate inappropriatelywith the older people.There were comments by respondents that show sometimesold age decreases the care that doctors and nurses in health careservices provide for the older people. The older generation seekfor further medical help by providing specialist with presents howeverthis can be labeled as an expression of social inequality.Although it can be argued that almost the whole of the populationdonates money to specialists as through their experiences it isthought as the right thing to do.Teaching (counselling) activity by health care professionals isnot properly implemented because of the lack of individual approach,oftenly the health care specialist use difficult terminology intheir explainations this means that patients struggle to understandtheir health situation (especially from doctors) also in health caresituations patients are provided with too little information abouttheir condition. However all participants mentioned some positiveexperiences of communication with health and social care professionals:patients felt as though there was a positive reltionshipbetween them and the health and social care professionals, theyfelt a sense of comfort and warmth through their conversations.All participants would like health and social care professionalsto be not only competent in their activities, but also obeyingthe principles of humanism. Thought fulness, forgiveness, patience,listening, respect for the individual and self-control, were alllabelled as relevant and important within in the health and socialcare professionals work.

Keyword(s): older people, communication, health and social care professionals
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2014.105
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