Older people, relatives, and carers – all affected by homecare nursing

Homecare nursing affects and includes many people; it is a complex situation. Doctoral student Aleksandra Jarling's thesis highlights several perspectives and illuminates the vulnerable situation in which those affected find themselves.

In her project, she has focused on the experiences of the older people, relatives and care givers in order to understand more about the importance and meaning of care in the home and how this can be understood in relation to nursing care. The participants in the study have spoken about their experiences in relation to homecare nursing from different perspectives.

Vulnerability the common denominator

The doctoral thesis shows that vulnerability is central and common to those involved. The older people are forced to open up their homes, they have to adapt to new routines and people, and they also must become dependent on others to cope with everyday life. At the same time, they have fewer confidantes and do not see their friends as often, which may contribute to social relationships becoming of paramount importance in homecare.

The lives of relatives are also very much affected when they need to take increasing responsibility for an older person who is in need of care, a responsibility that they have not chosen, but also do not want to be without. And the professional responsibility of professional care givers is perceived as having no limits when there is a great willingness to care for those in need.

Why is this research important?

"It is important to highlight care in the home so that we can understand more about how we can provide care that promotes health and well-being from several perspectives. A large part of our population is made up of older people and the number of older people is increasing. The thesis focuses on issues that affect a great many people, and large parts of our society, not least today. The results of the thesis are even more topical and important to highlight given the pandemic, as we know that older people are largely lonely and isolated”, Aleksandra Jarling says.

The thesis contributes to a better understanding of older people's life situation when care at home becomes an inevitability.

"By law, people have the right to self-determination, which must become a reality in caring contexts. Homecare nursing must take its start from the individual and from a holistic perspective in which care takes into account not only physical needs but the whole person”, she explains.

A concrete example, she says, is that loneliness should be a sufficient factor to be granted home care, which today basically requires that the older people person need support in their general daily way of life.

"I also hope that the situation of relatives is given even more attention than it does today and that they will have better conditions and relief in dealing with a caring responsibility that never allows for rest. Healthcare cannot rely on relatives to take on increasing responsibility. Similarly, the work situation of professional caregivers needs to be reviewed; they must have time to provide care and for interpersonal contacts and relationships, and they must be offered support in difficult situations. The need for time, resources, and competence are some key concepts that recur”, she concludes.

The project has been carried out in the research area the Human Perspective in Care and is in line with the UN's global Goal 3, which deals with good health and well-being. The goal aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages. In addition, the project is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and that all people, regardless of age, are legally protected against discrimination.

Read more

Read the thesis Delad utsatthet: Vård i hemmet ur äldre människors, anhörigas och professionella vårdares perspektiv, 2020 
(Title in English: Shared vulnerability – home care from the perspective of older people, family caregivers, and professional caregivers, 2020) (Abstract in English and full text in Swedish)

Supervisor: Ann-Charlotte Dalheim Englund 

Read more about Aleksandra Jarling's research (In Swedish)

Read more about the research area the Human Perspective in Care