Unheard voices: Complaint patterns of older persons in the health care system

Israel Doron, Iddo Gal, Maya Shavit, Pnina Weisberg-Yosub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To examine the patterns and prevalence of complaints about health services among older clients of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), explore demographic correlates, and compare results with the patterns in the younger population. Primary data were collected from the responses of subjects who participated in two national phone surveys, conducted in Israel over a period of 2 years. The final sample included 372 participants aged 65 and older, and 796 younger persons, who believed they had reasons to complain about their HMO. Of the 372 participants with cause to complain, only 23% had actually complained. Subjects who were 75-years-old and above, with below-average income, had 2.5 times higher probability for not complaining than people under 65. No statistically significant differences were found between the older participants and younger participants regarding the reasons for complaints or the procedures for making them. Recommendations are made for the recognition of older persons as a unique group within the health care system and for developing organizational mechanisms for capturing their unheard voices by HMOs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was funded by the Maccabi Institute for Health Services Research. We thank Professor Shai Linn, Head of the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa, for his advice during the planning of the project, as well as Ms. Gila Se’adia of the Maccabi Health Services Fund Ombudsman.


  • Elder rights
  • Health care quality
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Service complaints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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