Infectious diseases are a major cause of illness and death among older adults. Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases, including against seasonal influenza, pneumococcal diseases, herpes zoster and COVID‐19. However, the uptake of vaccination among older adults varies across settings and groups.
Communication with healthcare workers can play an important role in older people’s decisions to vaccinate. To support an informed decision about vaccination, healthcare workers should be able to identify the older person’s knowledge gaps, needs and concerns. They should also be able to share and discuss information about the person’s disease risk and disease severity; the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety; and practical information about how the person can access vaccines. Therefore, healthcare workers need good communication skills and to actively keep up‐to‐date with the latest evidence. An understanding of their perceptions and experiences of this communication can help us train and support healthcare workers and design good communication strategies.
To explore healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of communicating with older adults about vaccination.
We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL and Scopus on 21 March 2020. We also searched Epistemonikos for related reviews, searched grey literature sources, and carried out reference checking and citation searching to identify additional studies. We searched for studies in any language.
We included qualitative studies and mixed‐methods studies with an identifiable qualitative component. We included studies that explored the perceptions and experiences of healthcare workers and other health system staff towards communication with adults over the age of 50 years or their informal caregivers about vaccination.
Data collection and analysis
We extracted data using a data extraction form designed for this review. We assessed methodological limitations using a list of predefined criteria. We extracted and assessed data regarding study authors’ motivations for carrying out their study. We used a thematic synthesis approach to analyse and synthesise the evidence. We used the GRADE‐CERQual (Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research) approach to assess our confidence in each finding. We examined each review finding to identify factors that may influence intervention implementation and we developed implications for practice.
Published: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, August 13th, 2020
Topic of interest
- healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences about communicating with older adults and their informal caregivers about vaccination;
- healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of training and education in vaccine communication with older adults, including the factors that healthcare workers consider as likely to facilitate or hamper the use of these training and education strategies.
- healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of vaccines and vaccine uptake among adults of any age (providing there are data that specifically refer to their perceptions and experiences of older adults and vaccines);
- healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of vaccines and vaccine uptake among healthcare workers (providing there are data that specifically refer to their perceptions and experiences of older adults and vaccines).