Discrimination against the elderly in health-care services: a systematic review
Ageism in health-care services is a cardinal public health concern in geriatric health. It is important to know the types and extent of discrimination experienced by elderly individuals while seeking health care. This systematic review aimed to explore the available research to identify discrimination of elderly individuals in health-care services. MEDLINE through PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and Cochrane Database were searched by using a comprehensive search strategy in September 2020 with no limitation in the year of publication and types of publication. Articles published in English focusing on disparities in health-care service among the elderly were included. Two independent authors screened, extracted, and assessed the quality of data using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tool. A narrative synthesis was conducted followed by qualitative content analysis to identify themes from the extracted outcomes of the included studies. Of 3117 articles retrieved from the initial search, 21 articles were included. A total of 611 608 participants from 38 countries in four geographic regions were reported. Articles were published between 2003 and 2020. Most of the studies (n = 19) were cross-sectional in design, and the remaining two studies were qualitative. Major themes of discrimination were age-related discrimination, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, wealth-related discrimination, and technology-related discrimination. This systematic review identified the major perspectives on disparities faced by the elderly in accessing health services. There is a huge research gap on this issue. Specific strategies should be incorporated to address the varying types of discrimination experienced by elderly individuals.