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Tove Harnett. Foto: Sanna Dolck Wall

Tove Harnett

Senior lecturer | PhD in Social Work

Tove Harnett. Foto: Sanna Dolck Wall

Home Care in the Daily Lives of Older People : Protocol for an Ethnographic Two-Year Longitudinal Study


  • Tove Harnett
  • Håkan Jönson
  • Alexander Fäldtman

Summary, in English

Background: Research on eldercare has been dominated by a provider-oriented perspective, concerned with the conditions and views of care providers. There are striking differences compared with the field of disability studies, where help is framed as part of a larger project of having a daily life and being included in society. Pilot interviews indicate that older people develop active strategies to make care work. These include practical preparations, emotional activities such as showing an interest in staff members’ lives, or rhetorical skills in asking for help. Objective: The aim of this project is to develop empirical and theoretical knowledge of eldercare as a relational practice, accomplished by older people in their daily lives. This perspective will also offer an alternative to ongoing attempts to reduce the user perspective to an issue about older people acting as customers in a market. Methods: The project will map, investigate, and follow up on care use from the perspective of care users. The project has an ethnographic 2-year longitudinal approach. Data consist of interviews and participant observations with 35 persons (home care users and cohabitating partners) and a diary study with additional 10 care users. Inclusion criteria are people 65 years or older with home care provided by needs assessors. It is preferred that they have had home care between 6 months and 2 years in order to follow a progression in roles, identities, and strategies within home care use. Results: Between May and October 2022, 25 interviews with home care users were conducted. Data collection with follow-up interviews and observations, analysis, and reporting of findings will be completed by December 2024. Conclusions: By studying care use in the context of older people’s lives the project will add important knowledge about the strategies and adjustments older people apply to make care arrangements work. A user-oriented perspective will further the understanding of how power relations play out in home care over time in relation to the formal rights, categorical belongings, and established norm systems that place the user in superior or subordinate positions.


  • LU Profile Area: Proactive Ageing
  • Ageing and Eldercare
  • School of Social Work

Publishing year





JMIR Research Protocols



Document type

Journal article


JMIR Publications Inc.


  • Social Work


  • eldercare
  • home care
  • theory of care use
  • user perspective




  • ISSN: 1929-0748