Master´s thesis: Autonomy in long-term elderly care

​Elderly people are a vulnerable group in the society with different health complications and physical and mental impairments. In later life, entering a care institution is challenging for them as they have lived through many losses and adversities as well as good times. Therefore, providing nursing care in an institution not only requires an understanding of their physical needs, but also it requires psychological, sociological, cultural and ethnic needs of a person.

Autonomy is one of the major needs in long-term elderly care where autonomy means no external constraints, freedom to choose, absence of influences and acknowledgement of moral values. Elderly individuals should always be addressed as an autonomous person. This study aimed at looking into the autonomy in long-term elderly care.

Purpose of the study

In this study author tried to investigate autonomy of the elderly in long-term care on the basis of the theories of self-determination and autonomy. Two Research questions of this study are: 1. which factors mostly affect autonomy of the elderly in long term care? And 2. What kind of opportunities the elderly people have to exercise for their autonomy in long term care?


This study found five different factors which affects the autonomy of elderly in long term care. Those are- freedom to choose, dependency, dignity, paternalism and frailty / disability. This study also found few opportunities which can help to exercise the autonomy in long term care settings, such as- proper opportunities to use self-management abilities, addressing and digging out the capability of older residents and changing the view of caregivers to the vulnerable elderly.


In both cases most of the study mentioned about the strict organizational routines, lack of trained staff, lack of time and different decision-making process.To improve the wellbeing of the elderly, we need to know more about the policy and regulations of different care settings as well. The practice of decisional autonomy and executional autonomy is important in long term care. Understanding the level of disease will help to understand the practice of elderly autonomy. Care staff`s view on dependency, frailty and disability can change the lifestyle of elderly in long term care.

More information:

Mun Mun Das, author
Global development and management in health care.
Tel. 044 211 7327

Modified 10/18/2017 9:34 AM