In the theoretical introduction to the thesis I introduce a few general characteristics of institutional care of the older people, describe the field of autonomy and inclusion of the residents in the life in the homes for older people, present the role and tasks of social workers before admittance of the residences in the home, and until they depart or pass away. In the final chapter of the theoretical introduction I describe the effect that moving into a home for older people has on an older person, and the tasks of a social worker in that period of instituional life.
With regard to the topic I chose to conduct a type of qualitative research, looking for answers to three research questions: (1.) How and in what way are the residents of a home for older people included in organizing the life in a home, and what is their autonomy, their ability to make choices? (2.) In what way does a social worker ensure autonomy and inclusion of residents in the organization of living in a home for older people? (3.) What is the role and which are the tasks of a social worker when admitting a resident into a home for older people, and what kind of an effect does moving to a home for older people have on the life of an older person?
The sample consists of nine residents and was selected according to the following criteria: women and men; residents with dementia; residents depending on assistance (no independent mobility) and residents who are still independently mobile; residents who have lived there for more than three years and those who have been living there for a shorter time; residents who decided to move to a home for older people themselves and those who were forced to move because of their situation. Empirical data was processed using qualitative analysis.
The results of the research lead me to the finding that the more independent residents have a high level of autonomy in decision-making and the chance to be included in the organization of living in the home for older people. Residents without independent mobility and those with dementia have partially limited autonomy, freedom of movement and inclusion in living in a home for older people, because of the limited number of employees. This, in turn, means that those with limited abilities are sometimes forced to wait for help when they need or want it. The research has also pointed to shortcomings in informing the residents of events and in the provision of individualized care. Poor information provision has a bigger impact on the residents without independent mobility and those with dementia, limiting their autonomy. Residents of a home for older people have the option to make decisions and discuss the topics, content and dates of activities that are held at the nursing home. It was made evident that all the residents, regardless of any impairments, have the option to express their desires, needs and ideas, and that the employees mostly take them into consideration. The home for older people also holds various meetings where residents can express their opinion, give proposals for changes and express desires relating to different areas in of living in the nursing home that the employees then consider. The home for older people also holds meetings regarding the menus, where residents are joined by their relatives. All residents, even those without independent mobility and those with dementia, have the
option to participate in and attend all activities and events. The social worker, the head nurse, the occupational therapist and the director encourage and inform the employees on the importance of respectable, open and appropriate communication, both between employees and between employees and residents. The social worker is always available to the residents and willing to help them in matters related to living in the home for older people, the activities and care, as well as with other matters. The social worker establishes contact with the older person and their relatives even before they enter the home for older people, meets them, and, if needed, also assists them with documentation. They also encourage the older person and the relatives to bring important personal items and other things for decorating their room when moving into a home for older people. This helps them adjust to their new life.