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Perceived value of support for older adults coping with multi-morbidity: patient, informal care-giver and family physician perspectives

  • GAYATHRI NAGANATHAN (a1), KERRY KULUSKI (a1) (a2), ASHLINDER GILL (a1), LIISA JAAKKIMAINEN (a3) (a4) (a5), ROSS UPSHUR (a2) (a3) (a5) (a6) and WALTER P. WODCHIS (a1) (a5) (a7)...

This study investigated the perceived value of informal and formal supports for older adults with multi-morbidity from the perspectives of patients, care-givers and family physicians. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 patients, their informal care-givers and their family physicians in an urban academic family health team in Ontario. Analysis was conducted using a General Inductive Approach to facilitate identification of main themes and build a framework of perceived value of supports. Participant views converged on supports that facilitate patient independence and ease care-giver burden. However, important differences in participant perceptions arose regarding these priorities. Physicians and care-givers valued supports that facilitate health and safety while patients prioritised supports that enable self-efficacy and independence. While formal supports which eased care-giver burden were viewed positively by all members of the triad, many patients also rejected formal supports, citing that informal support from their care-giver was available. Such conflicts between patient, care-giver and physician-perceived value of supports may have important implications for consumer and care-giver willingness to accept formal supports when supports are available. These findings contribute to the broader literature on community-based care by incorporating the perspectives of patients, informal care-givers and family physicians to understand better the barriers and facilitators of uptake of supportive services that contribute to successful ageing at home.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Gayathri Naganathan, Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Suite 425, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5T 3M6 E-mail:
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