Dignity and existential concerns among nursing homes residents from the perspective of their relatives

Synnøve Caspari, Vibeke Lohne, Arne Wilhelm Rehnsfeldt, Berit Sæteren, Åshild Slettebø, Anne Kari Tolo Heggestad, Britt Lillestø, Bente Høy, Maj-Britt Råholm, Lillemor Lindwall, Trygve Aasgaard, Dagfinn Nåden


Aims and objectives: The aim of this cross-country Scandinavian study was to explore how residents in nursing homes experience that their dignity is promoted and attended to. This is one part of the Scandinavian project in which we interviewed residents, relatives and staff members.

Background: The main subject concerns the dignity of residents of nursing homes for older people. This article brings forward results from interviews of relatives on how they experience that the dignity is met, promoted and attended to for their next of kin.

Design: The study was qualitative with a hermeneutic approach.

Methods: Qualitative research interviews of 28 relatives of residents at six participating nursing homes in Scandinavia. The results derive from analysis of the interviews using Kvale’s three levels of interpretation; self-understanding, common sense and a theoretical understanding.

Results: The following themes emerged, from the perspective of the relatives, concerning what was deemed important to the resident according his existential needs and concerns: a). To have a comfortable, homely and practical room. b). To have close contact with family, friends and with the staff. c).To have aesthetic needs and concerns attended to. d). To have ethical needs and intrinsic values attended to. e). To have cultural and spiritual needs and concerns attended to.

Conclusion: The results provide more substance to the theme and are all important in terms of the residents’ feeling of worthiness and dignity. In general it seemed that the relatives experienced a positive encounter with the staff, but it was also mentioned that staff members were not confronted about episodes that were undignified and disgraceful. This could be a sign or expression that they were worried that negative responses or complaints could lead to a kind of reprisal against the resident and to indignity.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/cns.v2n3p22


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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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