Relatives’ struggle for an improved and more just care for older people in community care


  • Elisabeth Häggström PhD, RNT,

  • Annica Kihlgren PhD, RN,

  • Mona Kihlgren PhD, RN,

  • Venke Sörlie PhD, RNT

Elisabeth Häggström
University of Gävle
801 76 Gävle
Telephone: +46 26648222


Aims and objectives.  The aim of the present study was to describe the relatives’ experience concerning older family members living in special housing facilities.

Background.  During the 21st century, the relatives of older people and their efforts related to the care and nursing of older people have been observed. The interest in these relatives is because of factors such as demographic changes, where the number of older people has increased and the increasing gap between the resources that are available for geriatric care and the care needed for older people.

Design.  The present study has a descriptive design and is part of a project including 24 specific residences, called special housing facilities.

Method.  The study focused on the narratives supplied by the relatives that were analysed using qualitative latent content analysis, an interpretative process where the researcher considers the content of the text.

Results.  The relatives’ experience of having an older person in a special housing facility that emerged from the study, was expressed in one main theme: The relatives’ struggle for an improved and just care for older people and four sub-themes: (i)‘To trust in caregivers’; (ii) ‘To be confirmed’; (iii) ‘To trust in care’; (iv) ‘To receive the kind of care that one considers one has the right to receive’.

Conclusions.  The study shows that the relatives need more support and more opportunities, so that they can participate in the care. The study shows the relatives engagement in working for a just society's obligation towards the protection of older peoples rights and the staff's working conditions.

Relevance to clinical practice.  It is important that caregivers and management working with older people realize that they, together with them and their relatives, are a part of society and that all individuals are influenced by the discourse of that society.