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Gerontologist. 2006 Apr;46(2):160-4.

Ethical issues involving research conducted with homebound older adults.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, CH19 219, 1530 3 Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Conducting research in the home setting with homebound older adults presents distinct ethical and practical challenges that require special consideration. This article describes the methodological issues that make studying homebound older adults especially vulnerable to therapeutic misconception and researcher role conflict and offers practical strategies for researchers to deal with these problems when studying this population. In writing this article, we draw on more than a decade of descriptive and intervention research focusing exclusively on the homebound older population in which the authors have collaborated. Therapeutic misconception and researcher role conflict may occur because of methodological issues related to the recruitment of participants, the "homebound" status of participants, and the home setting as the interview site. Particular care is required on the part of the researcher to address these ethical issues. This may be accomplished especially through clear communication during the informed consent process with participants and in scientific communication with colleagues.

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