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Older persons' experience of being assessed for and receiving public home help: do they have any influence over it?

  • Ann-Christin Janlöv
  • Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
  • Kerstin Petersson
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 26-36
Publication/Series: Health & Social Care in the Community
Volume: 14
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore older persons' experience of participation in and influence on decisions about public home help/care when undergoing needs assessment and receiving public home help. A purposive sample of 28 home help recipients over the age of 75 were selected. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews. A content analysis revealed one overarching category: 'Having to be satisfied, adjust, and walk a fine line when balancing between needs and available help'; and three principal categories: Balancing the comfort and guilt – receiving help from the family at the limits of their capacity; 'A necessary evil'– balancing feelings and resources against having no choice but to accept; Incorporating the home help into daily life to gain a sense of continuity. The findings indicate that older persons have difficulties coping and adapting to their new life situation and have no actual influence over the decisions about their home help. The officer told them what was available. This implies a need to pay attention to the frail persons' mental state in the needs assessment and to ensure adequate understanding of information. Further, it suggests that the needs assessment and the home help officer should to a larger extent focus on individual needs as a whole, involve and encourage the older person to strengthen his or her sense of being in control.


  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • Nursing
  • age 75 and older
  • adjustment
  • influence
  • needs assessment
  • public home
  • help
  • social service/care


  • ISSN: 0966-0410
Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
E-mail: ingalill [dot] rahm_hallberg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emerita

Health-promoting Complex Interventions