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Ageing well with chronic pain in rural environments; a mixed methods exploratory study

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Abstract

Over half of the United Kingdom (UK) population, aged 75 or over, experience chronic pain. Chronic pain can negatively affect activities of daily living, quality of life and an individual’s ability to maintain an independent lifestyle. UK rural populations comprise a disproportionate number of older adults; however, a paucity of research exists on the experiences of older adults living with chronic pain in these environments. The aim of this thesis is to explore and understand experiences of older adults with chronic pain living in rural environments to inform healthcare policy and service provision.

The study is framed by an interpretivist paradigm informed by narrative and ethnographic inquiry to capture storied representations and situated natures of lived experience. A mixed-methods exploratory design supported data generation and analysis through narrative interviews, life-grids, a quality of life measure, photo-elicitation, and ‘go-alongs’. Participants were recruited using snowball and spectrum sampling through third sector
organisations.

Eight participants (four females; 67-90 years) contributed to 14 interviews (spouses were present during four interviews). Findings focus on the multi-dimensionality of chronic pain, explicitly the relational nature of the rural environmental dimension, and factors
that support the maintenance of quality of life domains and ageing well. Quality of life and common beliefs were critically examined: chronic pain as a normal part of ageing, “carrying on”, community spirit, and rurality. Implications for methodology and policy and service provision are described.

Citation

(2017). Ageing well with chronic pain in rural environments; a mixed methods exploratory study

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