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Tove Harnett. Foto: Sanna Dolck Wall

Tove Harnett

Senior lecturer | PhD in Social Work

Tove Harnett. Foto: Sanna Dolck Wall

Out of the ordinary : Media reports on wet eldercare facilities


  • Håkan Jönson
  • Tove Harnett

Summary, in English

The aim of this article was to investigate presentations of “wet” eldercare facilities in Sweden, a type of facility that provides care for older people with long-term alcohol problems and where the consumption of alcohol is allowed. Wet eldercare facilities challenge traditional Swedish policy on alcohol treatment, and their approach constitutes a breach of mainstream policies on alcohol and treatment, where abstinence is a goal. Data for the study consisted of articles that reported on two nursing homes in the City of Gothenburg during 1995–2017, a total of 65 articles. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify relevant themes. The study revealed that with the exception of a media scandal at one of the facilities in 2017, reports were mostly positive. Residents were portrayed as “chronic” alcoholics (kroniker) who were resistant to treatment, but in need of the type of permissive approach and care that was provided at the facilities. In the article we refer to this as a framework of matched arrangements. Readers of several media reports were invited to see the person behind the scruffy addict and the approach was in some cases developed into a critique of unrealistic ambitions of mainstream treatment. This critique was, however, not developed into a coherent framework. A conclusion was that the surprisingly positive portrayal of residents and descriptions of the facilities as “different” should be understood in relation to the way the media creates interest by reporting on events and arrangements that appear as out of the ordinary.


  • School of Social Work
  • Ageing and Eldercare
  • Addiction Research

Publishing year







NAD Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs





Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Social Work


  • ageing
  • alcohol
  • eldercare
  • homelessness
  • nursing homes




  • Specialist eldercare for people with substance abuse and complex needs: Promising practices or institutionalized ageism?


  • ISSN: 1455-0725