Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Complaints By The Elderly: Valuable Information Or Trivialities?

Date:
July 1, 2009
Source:
The Swedish Research Council
Summary:
What is done when the elderly lodge complaints about their services? Why is it that staff describe complaints made by the elderly as "trivialities"? Researchers now show that staff, as well as social services directors in local administrations, often trivialize complaints from the elderly, which in turn makes it difficult for the elderly to influence their everyday lives.

What is done when the elderly lodge complaints about their services? Why is it that staff describe complaints made by the elderly as “trivialities”? In two recent studies, Tove Persson, doctoral student at the School of Health Sciences, shows that staff, as well as social services directors in local administrations, often trivialize complaints from the elderly, which in turn makes it difficult for the elderly to influence their everyday lives.

“It is valuable for us to receive your thoughts, ideas and complaints – positive as well as negative – it gives us a chance to improve our work”. Statements such as this are used by many Swedish municipalities.

In fact, similar rhetoric is used in several EU countries to encourage the elderly to make their voices heard. The “European Social Network” emphasizes that social services wish to listen to the service users and support the personal fulfilment of the elderly.

Yet, Tove Persson’s studies expose serious flaws in the practice of listening - at least in Sweden. Officially, complaints are “valuable tools for quality improvements”, but two recent studies show that complaints by elderly citizens are often trivialized or played-down by the authorities responsible and by staff involved in elderly care.

Persson has studied 100 social service directors (responsible for elderly care) and found that the organization of complaints lodged by the elderly is a bit of a haphazard affair in Sweden. Many municipalities, for instance, did not provide the elderly with information about how to complain, and in some municipalities the elderly had to submit their complaints via the Internet.

Even though the service directors said they received too few complaints from the elderly, quite paradoxically, they often played down the importance of the few complaints they did receive by describing these as trivial: “It is often trivialities they complain about. You know, if some of the home help staff forget a visit and things like that.” Similar rhetoric was exposed in Persson’s second study where nursing home staff described residents’ complaints about food, bedtimes and loneliness as petty details.

By describing nearly all kinds of complaints as unimportant, the staff could justify their negligence regarding these complaints. Despite official ambition to listen to the elderly, it still seems to be difficult for the elderly to make their voices heard.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Swedish Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Swedish Research Council. "Complaints By The Elderly: Valuable Information Or Trivialities?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701150853.htm>.
The Swedish Research Council. (2009, July 1). Complaints By The Elderly: Valuable Information Or Trivialities?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701150853.htm
The Swedish Research Council. "Complaints By The Elderly: Valuable Information Or Trivialities?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701150853.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins