Technologies in older people’s care.

Authors: Andersson Marchesoni M, Axelsson K, Fältholm Y, Lindberg I


Nurs Ethics. 2017 Mar;24(2):125-137

BACKGROUND: The tension between care-based and technology-based rationalities motivates studies concerning how technology can be used in the care sector to support the relational foundation of care.
OBJECTIVES: This study interprets values related to care and technologies connected to the practice of good care.
RESEARCH DESIGN: This research study was part of a development project aimed at developing innovative work practices through information and communication technology. Participants and research context: All staff (n = 18) working at two wards in a care facility for older people were asked to participate in interviews, and 12 accepted. We analysed the data using latent content analysis in combination with normative analysis. Ethical considerations: The caregivers were informed that participation was voluntary and that they could drop out at any time without providing any explanation.
FINDINGS: Four values were identified: 'presence', 'appreciation', 'competence' and 'trust'. Caregivers wanted to focus on care receivers as unique persons, a view that they thought was compromised by time-consuming and beeping electronic devices. Appraising from next-of-kin and been seen as someone who can contribute together with knowledge to handle different situations were other desires. The caregivers also desired positive feedback from next-of-kin, as they wanted to be seen as professionals who have the knowledge and skills to handle difficult situations. In addition, the caregivers wanted their employer to trust them, and they wanted to work in a calm environment.
DISCUSSION: Caregivers' desire for disturbance-free interactions, being valued for their skills and working in a trustful working environment were interpreted as their base for providing good care. The caregivers' arguments are based on caring rationality, and sometimes they felt the technological rationality interfered with their main mission, providing quality care.
CONCLUSION: Introducing new technology in caring should support the caring relationship. Although society's overall technology-based approach may have gained popularity as a problem solver, technology-based rationality may compromise a care-based rationality. A shift in attitudes towards care as a concept on all societal levels is needed.



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