An exploration of the everyday experiences of older people living with multiple longterm conditions through participant-driven photo-elicitation

  • Emma Bartlett

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Globally ageing populations have led to increasing numbers of older people living with multiple long-term conditions. In response, health care services are being transformed. Even though everyday experiences are fundamental, they are rarely noticed or described. Consequently, some priorities and preferences of service users are not fully understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore and illuminate the everyday lives of older people living with multiple long-term conditions to produce findings that will inform service provision.

Eight people were recruited from community settings. Participant-driven photo-elicitation was employed to explore their everyday experiences. Each took photographs as prompts for an interview discussion. Data were analysed using interpretive hermeneutic phenomenology.

Five interlinked themes were produced: what matters to me; confronting precariousness; at the mercy of others; loss of anticipated life; and journey of transition. These illuminate how everyday life had changed. Meaningful participation required effort and endeavour, and everyday experiences were less routine. Life was a balancing act which necessitated consideration and planning, and participants thoughtfully adapted their lives – their way.

Participants’ everyday experiences were uniquely complex and shaped by sociocultural norms. With implications for healthcare policy and practitioners, this research illuminated some dissonance between these experiences and the ambitions of personalised healthcare policy. Healthcare practitioners are also entwined within ageing societies, where sociocultural norms and attitudes may influence their views about how ageing with long-term conditions should be anticipated and faced.

It is expected that the resonant and informative findings arising from this research will promote reflection, and contribute to the education of healthcare practitioners by raising consciousness and awareness of the everyday experiences and challenges that older people living with long-term conditions must face. Recommendations for healthcare practitioners include training to: identify and address possible influences of societal norms on practice; and hone the communication skills needed for personalised care delivery.
Date of Award27 Sep 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMelanie Rogers (Main Supervisor)

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