The concept of Ageing in place is a political goal, where care partners and home care services play significant roles. Due to this policy, older people live longer at home with increasingly complex disease states, both physical and mental. Consequently, responsibilities have increasingly shifted to home care services and care partners. In particular, the care partners of older people with mental health problems face major challenges, and they often feel unsupported in their role.
The aims of this PhD dissertation were to develop knowledge about the needs of this care partner group and to explore their collaborative relationship with home care services. The findings indicate that care partners have several, continuously unmet needs, few or no routines for collaboration exist between the care partners and home care, and the care partners seem to have little knowledge of their legal rights. Furthermore, the findings may indicate discrimination towards older people with mental health problems in accessing home care services, which can increases the burden on their care partners. Through linking the findings of the studies to a person-centred practice framework, it is demonstrated how a person-centred approach can help strengthen the collaborative relationship between care partners and home care services, and help address the support needs of care partners.
The study suggests that it is necessary to reconsider how to fill the gap between expected areas of responsibility for home care services and what can be accomplished within the current service framework. It is not enough to grant care partners new rights; a framework must be provided enabling home care staff to fulfil these rights. Leaders and policy makers should note that increased demands and responsibilities imposed on home care staff can lead to moral compromises and inadequate care.