Have They Done what They Should? Moral Reasoning in the Context of Translating Older Persons’ Everyday Problems into Eligible Needs for Home Modification Services

Abstract

This study explores how moral reasoning is expressed in matching health care with the problems older persons experience in their everyday life. Narrative data were collected from older persons who had applied for home modification services and from professionals involved in these services in Sweden. A theoretical framework, based on theories on the anthropology of morals, was applied to explore how the participants made conclusions about “what should be done.” Moral reasoning was found to be guided by ideologies related to the historical and cultural context of the Swedish welfare state. Different interpretations of how these values should be expressed in specific situations led to different conclusions about what should be done. The study highlights the importance of understanding how values are enacted rather than what values different social agents have in order to understand how health care services can be designed and provided to support older persons’ everyday life.