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Health Soc Care Community. 2017 Mar;25(2):621-629. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12351. Epub 2016 Apr 24.

Understanding eldercare users' views on quality of care and strategies for dealing with problems in Swedish home help services.

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Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
The Field Research and Development Unit in Social Services, Umeå Municipality, Umeå, Sweden.
Unit Manager in Home Help Services, Norrköping Municipality, Norrköping, Sweden.


The aim of the present study was to gain a deeper understanding of eldercare users' strategies for dealing with problems in the quality of care and care satisfaction in relation to home help services. Based on earlier research and evaluations, it was assumed that users would express satisfaction and gratitude, and also be unwilling to complain. The specific research questions were: (i) What, if any, quality of care problems do the users mention? (ii) How do the users explain the reasons for these problems? and (iii) What strategies do the users employ to deal with these problems? A total of 35 interviews were conducted in November 2013 with 15 men and 20 women (66-92 years). The data were analysed using thematic and qualitative content analysis. The results showed that almost all users expressed overall satisfaction with their care. However, all but one also mentioned problems. The users stated very clearly and explicitly the reasons for these problems, and in most cases, they referred to the work conditions, work organisation and lack of other resources in the eldercare organisation. Two strategies were commonly used to deal with these problems: trivialisation and adaptation. A third strategy was expressed dissatisfaction, where the problem led to actions or plans to take action. One interpretation of the findings is that what is actually measured in official quality assessments and follow-ups may be care users' understanding of the work conditions and work organisation of eldercare. The understanding attitude may prevent care users from complaining because it lowers their expectations.


care quality assessments; care satisfaction; complaints; eldercare; home help services

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