‘I don’t have any other choice’: spouses’ experiences of placing a partner in a care home for older people in Sweden

Authors

  • Ulla Lundh RN PhD,

    1. Senior lecturer, Department of Medicine and Care, Division of Nursing Science, Linköping University, Sweden
    2. Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing Science, University College of Health Sciences, Jönköping, Sweden
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  • Jonas Sandberg RN,

    1. PhD student, Department of Neuroscience and Locomotion, Division of Geriatrics, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Mike Nolan RN PhD

    1. Professor of Gerontological Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England
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UllaLundh Department of Medicine and Care, Faculty of health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail: ulla.lundh@imv.liu.se

Abstract

‘I don’t have any other choice’: spouses’ experiences of placing a partner in a care home for older people in Sweden

The main aim of this paper is to consider the experiences of Swedish spouses who have placed a partner in a care home for older people. Data were gathered from semi-structural interviews with 14 spouses (11 wives and 3 husbands) who had been involved in a care home placement within the previous 6 months. The results reported here are from the first component of a larger grounded theory study, the aim of which is to explore, describe and understand the experience of care home placement from a variety of perspectives and to identify the implications for policy and practice in Sweden. The focus here is on the experience of spouses, relating to the decision-making process, the move into care and subsequent contact with the care home. Four themes emerged from the data – making the decision, making the move, adjusting to the move and reorientation. The results show a lack of planning for the elder person’s entry to a care home, and professional dominance of this stage of the process. The largely ambivalent emotional responses to the move that spouses experience and the difficulties in initiating and sustaining relationships with staff in the home are discussed in the light of previous research.

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