AIM: Older people's views of prioritization in health care. The applicability of an interview study. Old age has been stated as a criterion for prioritization in health care, although older people are seldom asked for their opinions. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the applicability of a questionnaire as a base for an interview study to explore older people's experiences and views of prioritization in health care.
DESIGN: Descriptive, with a qualitative and quantitative approach. Fifty-four persons, 32 women and 22 men (aged 60-93 years), were asked to participate in a structured, tape-recorded interview covering their experience and views of the priorities applied in health care.
RESULTS: The questions in the interview manual appeared to be applicable for collecting data concerning views of prioritization, but the analysis revealed that certain questions, particularly on economic matters, were missing. The procedure, a personal structured interview had advantages, for example, in capturing the respondents' reflections on the questions. The respondents emphasized the equal value of all human beings and that age is not a basis for prioritization within health care. The respondents also showed an unwillingness to precede anyone in rank.
IMPLICATIONS: The questions used proved to be adequate but to be really complete further questions need to be added. This pilot study indicates that older people's views on priorities in health care differ from those expressed by the younger population. The study therefore needs to be replicated in a larger sample to be fully able to understand older people's views of prioritization, which will require exploring gender and age differences as well as other aspects that may explain variations.
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