On-line health seeking activity of older adults: an integrative review of the literature

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The internet is increasingly used to provide health information. Supporting older people to access on-line health information requires understanding their current usage and possible barriers and facilitators. Methods involved searching three databases. Inclusion criteria were: (i) articles published within 10 years; (ii) people aged >65; (iii) explored reasons for older people accessing on-line health information and (iv) in English. Eight articles met these criteria. Older people use on-line health information to learn about a disease, medication, treatment, or healthy living. Factors influencing usefulness of on-line health information included demographics, health status, trust in the information, lack of skills using the internet and attitudes of health professionals. Findings indicate that while older people access on-line health information there are barriers: Low trust, financial barriers, lack of familiarity with the internet and low health literacy levels. Implications for nursing include working in partnership with older people to assist them to identify appropriate on-line information.

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