Quality of care crucial for the well-being of older people

The main objective of the project was to train a new generation of researchers willing to take on challenges in societies related to dignity on old age. Fifteen doctoral students have explored issues such as health and social care from the perspective of older people in different European countries, the use of new digital technologies, and the complexity and importance of gender in health and social care. This can include, for example, career paths in healthcare for men and women.

Emotional support and control

Kristina Nässén, senior lecturer and project manager at the University of Borås and supervisor for three of the doctoral students, explains:

“A key finding of the project is that older people themselves express the need for emotional support, not just practical support in long-term care. They also want to feel in control of the situation they are in. What our research shows is that being dependent on others is not necessarily experienced as difficult, but that it is the quality of the caring relationship that determines the experience of well-being.”

Two of the PhD students were admitted to the University of Borås. Lamprini Xiarchi from Greece and Karoline Lang Mathiesen, from Denmark, had a difficult start during the pandemic years as they had to conduct their studies from their respective home countries. In the work on her doctoral thesis, Lamprini Xiarchi focuses on the experiences of registered nurses and nursing students in working with care of older people, from a gendered perspective. In an earlier interview she tells us:

“Scandinavian societies promote gender equality, but there are still wage differences and there are more men in leading positions. In all European countries, that we study, we know from previous research that gender roles and society's expectations affect career choices and continued careers.”

Adding valuable skills

In her doctoral thesis, Karoline Lang Mathiesen examines, among other things, the unique essential competences needed by registered nurses caring for older people. Through interviews and observations, she wants to understand the caring relationship between nurses and older people cared for at home.

The two PhD students bring valuable new experiences from their home countries.

Lamprini Xiarchi's and Karoline Lang Mathiesen's doctoral studies run for four years, leaving them with one year to complete their doctoral projects. The doctoral students in the other universities are currently applying for postdoctoral positions to spread the idea of dignity in elderly care.

Read more

A total of nine universities in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greece and the United Kingdom were involved in the project, which ran from 2019 to 2023. The project was led by the University of Brighton and funded by the European Commission under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovate Training Network.

More about InnovateDignity

About the research of The Human Perspective in Care

Previous news: "It has to do with the value of human life" – new projects on dignified care for older people

Films about the projects

The two PhD projects at the University of Borås have generated two films:

Living well in care systems - experiencing well-being in health and social care settings (Youtube)

What older people experience. Technology and gender in healthcare (Youtube)