Patient views of social service provision for older people with advanced heart failure

Merryn Gott, Sarah Barnes, Sheila Payne, Chris Parker, David Seamark, Salah Gariballa, Neil Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the present paper is to explore levels of social service provision, the barriers to receiving these services and the experiences of social service provision amongst older people with heart failure. Five hundred and forty-two people aged over 60 years with heart failure were recruited from UK general practices in four areas of the UK, and these subjects completed quality-of-life and service-use questionnaires every 3 months for 24 months, or until death. Forty patients participated in in-depth interviews. Data collection was conducted between September 2003 and March 2006. Only 24% (n = 127) of the 460 participants who had provided information about social services contact reported having received social services during the past 24 months. Significant associations between the level of social services contact and participant characteristics were identified, with women, participants over 75 years of age, participants living alone, and those with two or more comorbidities being more likely to report receipt of social services. The qualitative data identified key barriers to using social services, including: access problems; not wanting additional help; the negative experiences of friends; and carers substituting for statutory services. The few participants interviewed who had received social services reported mixed experiences, including problems with inappropriate and insufficient services. This study indicates that only a minority of older people with heart failure have contact with social services. Improving provision for this group involves tackling the barriers to access identified above, as well as ensuring that their views influence service planning and delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-342
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Heart failure
  • Older people
  • Social services
  • User involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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