Maintaining dignity in vulnerability: A qualitative study of the residents' perspective on dignity in nursing homes








Background . Older people, living in nursing homes, are exposed to diverse situations, which may be associated with loss of dignity. To help them maintain their dignity, it is important to explore, how dignity is preserved in such context. Views of dignity and factors influencing dignity have been studied from both the residents ́ and the care providers ́ perspective. However, most of these studies pertain to experiences in the dying or the illness context. Knowledge is scarce about how older people experience their dignity within their everyday lives in nursing homes. Aim To illuminate the meaning of maintaining dignity from the perspective of older people living in nursing homes Method . This qualitative study is based on individual interviews. Twenty-eight nursing home residents were included from six nursing homes in Scandinavia. A phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, inspired by Ricoeur was used to understand the meaning of the narrated text. Results. The meaning of maintaining dignity was constituted in a sense of vulnerability to the self, and elucidated in three major interrelated themes: Being involved as a human being, being involved as the person one is and strives to become, and being involved as an integrated member of the society. Conclusion. The results reveal that maintaining dignity in nursing homes from the perspective of the residents can be explained as a kind of ongoing identity process based on opportunities to be involved, and confirmed in interaction with significant others.




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