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To investigate whether the use of long-acting benzodiazepines, in individuals aged 65 and over is mediated by physical or psychological factors.
Long-acting benzodiazepine consumption among older people has implications for mortality, morbidity and cost-effective prescribing. Two models explain benzodiazepine use in this age group, one linked to physical illness and disability and one to psychological factors.
Secondary analysis of baseline data from a study of 1059 community-dwelling non-disabled people aged 65 years and over recruited from three general practices in London. For this analysis, use of long-acting benzodiazepines was defined as any self-reported use of diazepam or nitrazepam in the last four weeks. Associations between demographic factors, health service use, and physical and psychological characteristics and benzodiazepine use were investigated.
The prevalence of benzodiazepine use in this sample was 3.3% (35/1059). In univariate analyses, benzodiazepine use was associated with female gender, low income, high consultation rates, physical factors (medication for arthritis or joint pain, polypharmacy, difficulties in instrumental activities of daily living, recent pain) and psychological factors (poor self-perceived health, social isolation, and symptoms of anxiety or agitation). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis only two factors retained statistically significant independent associations with benzodiazepine use: receiving only the state pension (OR=4.0, 95% CI: 1.70, 9.80) and pain in the past four weeks (OR=3.79, 95% CI: 1.36, 10.54).
Enhancing self-efficacy is central to programmes promoting self-care and self-management. However, little is known about older people's self-efficacy in doctor–patient interactions. This paper investigates lifestyle, medical and demographic factors associated with self-efficacy in doctor–patient interactions in older people in general practice.
A cross-sectional analysis of data from a randomised controlled trial of older people was conducted in a health risk appraisal study in London. Self-efficacy was measured using the Perceived Efficacy in Patient–Physician Interactions Questionnaire.
Older people with higher self-efficacy were significantly more likely to report having had recent preventive care measures such as recent blood pressure measurement and influenza immunisation. Women were less likely to have higher self-efficacy than men. Older people were significantly less likely to have high self-efficacy if they reported having poor memory, low mood, limited activities due to fear of falling, basic education, difficulties with at least one activity of daily living, reduced physical activity, living alone, or risk of social isolation.
A third of people had low self-efficacy in doctor–patient interactions. They appear to be a vulnerable group. Low self-efficacy in interactions with doctors may be a symptom or a characteristic of older people who experience social isolation and depression. Policies that depend on enhancing self-care and self-management need to consider the large number of older people with low self-efficacy in using medical services, and understanding characteristics in older people associated with lower confidence in doctor–patient interactions may be useful in clinical practice and research.
Early intervention can help to reduce the burden of disability in the older population, but many do not access preventive care. There is uncertainty over what factors influence case finding in older patients in general practice.
To explore factors associated with case finding for hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes mellitus in older patients.
Two thousand four hundred and ninety-one patients aged 65 years and above were recruited from three large practices in suburban London before the introduction of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) completed a questionnaire on health, functional status, health behaviours and preventive care.
Those not reporting heart disease, diabetes or hypertension were included in a secondary data analysis to explore factors influencing uptake of preventive care measures. Approximately one-third denied having had a blood pressure check in the previous year. They were more likely to have had little contact with doctors and to have an unhealthy lifestyle (smoking and a high-fat diet). One-third reported a cholesterol test in the previous five years. Cholesterol measurement was reported more often by men and those with a high body mass index. Those with unhealthy lifestyles (smoking and high-fat diet), those who had only received the state pension and those who limited their activities because of a fear of falling were less likely to report cholesterol measurement. About 10% reported a fasting blood glucose measurement and were more likely to consult more often and have more medications, but they were less likely to have a high-fat diet. Preventive care uptake was associated with frequent contacts with doctors, but overall the uptake of preventive care was low. Older people with healthier lifestyles were more likely to have primary preventative care interventions. These findings provide a baseline against which the effect of the QOF on the care of older people can be measured in future studies.
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