Long-Term Nursing Care of Elderly People: Identifying Ethically Problematic Experiences Among Patients, Relatives and Nurses in Finland
Nursing Ethics 2006 March; 13(2): 116-129
The aim of this study was to explore ethically problematic situations in the long-term nursing care of elderly people. It was assumed that greater awareness of ethical problems in caring for elderly people helps to ensure ethically high standards of nursing care. To obtain a broad perspective on the current situation, the data for this study were collected among elderly patients, their relatives and nurses in one long-term care institution in Finland. The patients (n = 10) were interviewed, while the relatives, (n = 17) and nurses (n = 9) wrote an essay. Interpretation of the data was based on qualitative content analysis. Problematic experiences were divided into three categories concerning patients' psychological, physical and social integrity. In the case of psychological integrity, the problems were seen as being related to treatment, self- determination and obtaining information; for physical integrity, they were related to physical abuse and lack of individualized care; and for social integrity, to loneliness and social isolation. This study provided no information on the prevalence of ethical problems. However, it is clear from the results that patient integrity warrants more attention in the nursing care of elderly patients.
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