Older adults` sense of dignity in digitally led healthcare

Moonika Raja, Lisbeth Uhrenfeldt, Kathleen T Galvin, Ingjerd G Kymre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health ministries in Europe are investing increasingly in innovative digital technologies. Older adults, who have not grown up with digital innovation, are expected to keep up with technological shifts as much as other age groups. This is ethically challenging, as it may threaten a sense of dignity and well-being in older adults. Research objective: To clarify the phenomenon of sense of dignity experienced in older adults, concerning how their expectations and needs are met within the context of digitally led healthcare in Norway. Research design: A Reflective Lifeworld Research design was chosen, and purposive, in-depth interviews were conducted. Participants and research context: The participants were 13 adults 75 years and older from Northern Norway, living at home and not receiving consistent assistance. Ethical considerations: Followed the principles of the Helsinki Declaration. This study was approved by the Social Science Data Services in Norway (project number 916119). Interviews were conducted carefully within a safe environment chosen by the participants. Findings: Older adults experience that using new digital systems in healthcare makes them become dependent with experiences of helplessness. They feel an increased sense of dependency on other people, and that recognition can assail their experience of personal dignity. Older adults not only expect digitally led healthcare to give them a feeling of safety but also experience feeling insecure concerning privacy and loss of possibilities for dialogue with healthcare providers. They are met by demands from society, which they often struggle to achieve. Conclusion: The phenomenon of sense of dignity experienced in older adults, concerning how their expectations and needs are met within digitally led healthcare, indicates a sense of feeling lost in the digital world. Further, innovative healthcare lacks focus on ethical performance. This impacts their perception of dignity, as loss of dignity is noticed especially in its rupture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1518-1529
Number of pages12
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project has received funding from the European Union`s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant No. 813928.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • Reflective Lifeworld Research
  • eHealth
  • ethics
  • healthcare provider
  • older adults


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