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Dignity 24 hours a day in Swedish elderly care? A survey and analysis of work and organization in home care services at night-time

Research project

Head of project

Katarina Andersson
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

2016-01-01 2018-12-31


Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016-2018: SEK 2,830,000

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research area

Ageing research, Social work

Project description

The research project aims to study an area within eldercare that represents a large knowledge gap – how elderly care is organized and performed during night-time. Swedish elderly care is performed through home care services and residential care, where home care services is the most common form of care and support given to the elderly in their home. The few studies that exist on night-time care, have focused on residential care. Therefore, we will focus on night-time care in ordinary housing, given by the night patroul – which we know very little about. In January 2011 a change in the Social Services Act legislated on older peoples right to dignity within eldercare. When speaking of dignity, it should reasonably include all of the 24-hour cycle.

The project aims to identify, describe and analyze how care is organized and performed at night given to the elderly in need of interventions in home care services in a selection of Swedish municipalities. Central research questions are: How is care organized at night-time? How is care performed at night-time? What type of care is performed at night-time? What does a normal, and deviant night respectively mean according to the night staff? What are the challenges and dilemmas within care at night-time? How is dignity and safety for older people secured at night-time?

Through an initial survey in 50 municipalities in which we conduct telephone interviews with managers who have responsibility for home care services at night-time, we get knowledge of how night-time care is organized and performed. The in-depth case study is obtained through document analysis, interviews and accompanying observations with staff and managers regarding working conditions and how dignity is secured in care at night-time. As the elderly are living longer and living in their own homes, the pressure on home care services will increase – also at night-time. This project will provide key knowledge to the research concerning elderly care at night.
Latest update: 2018-06-28