Journal of Gerontological Nursing

CNE Article 

Frail Older Adults’ Experiences of Receiving Health Care and Social Services

Jimmie Kristensson, PhD, RN; Ingalill Rahm Hallberg, PhD, RNT; Anna Kristensson Ekwall, PhD, RN

Abstract

This study explored frail older adults’ overall experience of receiving health care and/or social services. Frail older adults with unstable health are dependent on the health care system because of the frequency of their contacts with it. More knowledge is needed about how they experience the health care and social services they receive. Interviews with 14 older adults (mean age = 81) revealed one main category, Having Power or Being Powerless, that incorporated three categories: Autonomous or Without Control in Relation to the Health Care and/or Social Services System, Being Confirmed or Violated in Relation to Caregivers, and Paradoxes in Health Care or Social Services. Each category comprised subcategories reflecting aspects of having power or being powerless. The findings indicate it is important for health care and social services to ensure a high level of interpersonal continuity to empower frail older adults. This may contribute to more relationship-based care and help older adults remain in control of their life situations.

Abstract

This study explored frail older adults’ overall experience of receiving health care and/or social services. Frail older adults with unstable health are dependent on the health care system because of the frequency of their contacts with it. More knowledge is needed about how they experience the health care and social services they receive. Interviews with 14 older adults (mean age = 81) revealed one main category, Having Power or Being Powerless, that incorporated three categories: Autonomous or Without Control in Relation to the Health Care and/or Social Services System, Being Confirmed or Violated in Relation to Caregivers, and Paradoxes in Health Care or Social Services. Each category comprised subcategories reflecting aspects of having power or being powerless. The findings indicate it is important for health care and social services to ensure a high level of interpersonal continuity to empower frail older adults. This may contribute to more relationship-based care and help older adults remain in control of their life situations.

Dr. Kristensson is researcher, Dr. Hallberg is Professor, and Dr. Ekwall is researcher, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Dr. Kristensson is also researcher, and Dr. Hallberg is also Professor, The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund, and Dr. Ekwall is also RN and researcher, Department of Emergency, Lund University, Malmoe University Hospital, Malmoe, Sweden.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. This study was supported by grants from the Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden; The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences; the Region of Skåne and the Swedish Research Council. The authors thank Linnea Holmstrand and Helena Fridh for help with transcriptions and Patricia Shrimpton for revising the English.

Address correspondence to Jimmie Kristensson, PhD, RN, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, PO Box 157, SE-21 00 Lund, Sweden; e-mail: Jimmie.Kristensson@med.lu.se.

Received: June 03, 2009
Accepted: December 09, 2009
Posted Online: April 27, 2010

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Authors

Dr. Kristensson is researcher, Dr. Hallberg is Professor, and Dr. Ekwall is researcher, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Dr. Kristensson is also researcher, and Dr. Hallberg is also Professor, The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund, and Dr. Ekwall is also RN and researcher, Department of Emergency, Lund University, Malmoe University Hospital, Malmoe, Sweden.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. This study was supported by grants from the Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden; The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health Sciences; the Region of Skåne and the Swedish Research Council. The authors thank Linnea Holmstrand and Helena Fridh for help with transcriptions and Patricia Shrimpton for revising the English.

Address correspondence to Jimmie Kristensson, PhD, RN, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, PO Box 157, SE-21 00 Lund, Sweden; e-mail: .Jimmie.Kristensson@med.lu.se

10.3928/00989134-20100330-08

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