Understanding factors influencing vulnerable older people keeping warm and well in winter: a qualitative study using social marketing techniques

TOD, Angela, LUSAMBILI, Adelaide, HOMER, Catherine, ABBOTT, Joanne, COOKE, Joanne Mary, STOCKS, Amanda Jayne and MCDAID, Kathleen Anne (2012). Understanding factors influencing vulnerable older people keeping warm and well in winter: a qualitative study using social marketing techniques. BMJ Open, 2 (4), 1-12.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000922


Objectives To understand the influences and decisions of vulnerable older people in relation to keeping warm in winter. Design A qualitative study incorporating in-depth, semi-structured individual and group interviews, framework analysis and social marketing segmentation techniques. Setting Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK. Participants 50 older people (>55) and 25 health and social care staff underwent individual interview. The older people also had household temperature measurements. 24 older people and 19 health and social care staff participated in one of the six group interviews. Results Multiple complex factors emerged to explain whether vulnerable older people were able to keep warm. These influences combined in various ways that meant older people were not able to or preferred not to access help or change home heating behaviour. Factors influencing behaviours and decisions relating to use of heating, spending money, accessing cheaper tariffs, accessing benefits or asking for help fell into three main categories. These were situational and contextual factors, attitudes and values, and barriers. Barriers included poor knowledge and awareness, technology, disjointed systems and the invisibility of fuel and fuel payment. Findings formed the basis of a social marketing segmentation model used to develop six pen portraits that illustrated how factors that conspire against older people being able to keep warm. Conclusions The findings illustrate how and why vulnerable older people may be at risk of a cold home. The pen portraits provide an accessible vehicle and reflective tool to raise the capacity of the NHS in responding to their needs in line with the Cold Weather Plan.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000922
Page Range: 1-12
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2012 12:38
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 17:31
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5586

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