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Accessing Meals on Wheels: A qualitative study exploring the experiences of service users and people who refer them to the service

Papadaki, Angeliki, Wakeham, Mary, Ali, Becky, Armstrong, Miranda, Willis, Paul ORCID: and Cameron, Ailsa 2023. Accessing Meals on Wheels: A qualitative study exploring the experiences of service users and people who refer them to the service. [Online]. Available at:

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Meals on Wheels (MoWs) provide access to daily meals and social contact to adults with care and support needs.MoWs could be essential for the increasing rates of an ageing population and adults living with complex needs in England, yet many do not know that the service exists. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of MoWs service users, and people who refer them to MoWs (‘referrers’), with accessing and setting up the service in England, and what information would be valued when considering accessing MoWs services.Semi-structured interviews were conducted in May-July 2022 with seven service users and 21 referrers, recruited from four MoWs providers across England. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Participants indicated various pathways into the service, but referrers (family members) were more likely to be the ones enquiring about, and setting up, MoWs for service users. Once an enquiry about MoWs had been made, the service was perceived as straightforward to set up.However, existing preconceptions and stereotypes about the service (e.g. bringing to mind ‘school meals’, aimed solely at older adults) were perceived to act as barriers to accessing MoWs.Information that participants deemed important to have available when deciding on whether to access MoWs related to the meals (e.g. nutritional value, variety, need for any preparation, catering for individual needs), the specific services provided (e.g. wellbeing checks, daily social contact), the reliability and flexibility of delivery, and the cost of services. These findings could inform MoWs providers’ public awareness strategies about MoWs, in order to facilitate referrals to the service for adults with care and support needs.

Item Type: Website Content
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2023 08:28

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