Listening to Older People: Experiences with Health Services

Listening meetings are designed to engage with targeted groups to look at how they experience health care services at a local, regional and national level. In October and November 2014 a series of Listening meetings where held between the HSE and five Older Peoples Councils. The HSE Quality Improvement Division met with older people from each OPC in the five areas to elicit issues of importance to the older people within each defined geographical catchment area.

The meetings and subsequent report provides very instructive insights into the healthcare experiences of older peopleListening Meet in Ireland. Their stories that are captured in this report cover a broad range of issues across all healthcare settings – hospitals, primary care and social care etc. and the report hopes to assist the HSE to respond and act at a national and local level in order to improve the older patient experience. The issues relate to a range of policy and quality objectives, including those articulated in the National Standards on Health Care and the National Healthcare Charter. Some of the experiences that the participants recounted were positive but very many were negative.

This report has been circulated to HSE Leadership Team and Divisions within the HSE, with relevant feedback provided to each Division. Divisions have been asked to put in place action plans to include measures that need to be taken to address the issues raised by older people. Furthermore discussions are ongoing on how this feedback mechanism will form part of HSE service planning.

In addition the report will also be circulated to the relevant fora that exist within Age Friendly Ireland and the national Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme now operational in all 31 local authorities within Ireland

We are also delighted that a further series of Listening Meetings are to take place in , Donegal, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Cork, Roscommon and Limerick later on this year.  As with the 2014 series of meetings they will be facilitated by Age Friendly Ireland through its network of Older Peoples Councils attached to local Age Friendly City and County Programmes.