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Care of the old—A matter of ethics, organization and relationships

Author(s): Ingegerd Fagerberg | Gabriella Engström

Journal: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health & Well-Being
ISSN 1748-2623

Volume: 7;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Care of the old | phenomenological hermeneutics | ethics | organization | care relation | nurses | students

The world stands on the threshold of a demographic revolution called global ageing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population aged 60 and over is expected to increase from today's 650 million to an estimated 2 billion by 2050. Alongside demographic changes, dramatic changes can also be observed in older people's services. The shift has resulted in reduced government spending on caring for ill and frail older people in health care. Today, many governments have developed strategies to keep older people living well in their private home for as long as possible and have replaced long-term care institutions with residential homes. The aim of this study was to illuminate the meaning of caring for older people as experienced by health care students and professionals working in this field. Interviews were carried out with 17 women and one man, aged 21–65 years; six were Registered Nurses (RN), six were Enrolled Nurses (EN) and six were nursing students. The interviews were analyzed with a phenomenological hermeneutical approach and provided three themes and eight sub-themes: Ethical moral self with sub-themes “meeting the needs of the old”, “pliability towards the old”, and “difficulties in meeting aggressiveness”; Organizational and co-workers ethical moral actions with sub-themes, “co-workers who are offensive”, and “supportive and non-supportive leaders”: The relation with the old persons and their relatives with sub-themes “fellowship and closeness in the relation”, “uncertainty and fear in the relation”, and, “demands from the older persons’ close relatives”.
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