Troya, MI, Chew-Graham, CA, Babatunde, OO, Bartlam, B, Mughal, F and Dikomitis, L (2019) The role of primary care supporting older adults who self-harm: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice, 69 (688). e740-e751. ISSN 0960-1643

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Self-harm and suicide are major public health concerns. Self-harm is the strongest risk factor for suicide, with amongst the highest suicide rates reported in older populations. Little is known about how older adults access care following self-harm, but they are in frequent contact with primary care.

Identify and explore barriers and facilitators for accessing care within primary care for older adults who self-harm. Design and Setting An exploratory qualitative methods study using semi-structured interviews with older adults and third sector workers in England. Older adults invited to participate in one follow-up interview.

Interviews occurred between September 2017 and September 2018. These were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and data analysed thematically. A Patient Public Involvement Engagement group contributed to study design, data analysis and interpretation. Keele University granted ethical approval. Results Twenty-four interviews with nine older adults and seven support workers, including eight follow-up interviews with older adults. Three themes emerged: i) help-seeking decision factors; ii) sources of support; iii) barriers and facilitators to accessing primary care.

Despite older adults’ frequent contact with general practitioners, barriers to primary care existed which included stigma, previous negative experiences and practical barriers such as mobility restrictions. Older adults’ help-seeking behaviour was facilitated by previous positive experiences. Primary care is a potential avenue for delivering effective self-harm support, management and suicide prevention in older adults. Given the complex nature of self-harm, there is a need for primary care to work with other sectors to provide comprehensive support to older adults who self-harm.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it can be found online at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: deliberate self-harm; frail older adults; primary care; qualitative research.
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 15:08
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 08:37

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