Contemporary home-based care : encounters, relationships and the use of distance-spanning technology

Sammanfattning: Encounters and relationships are basic foundations of nursing care and the preconditions for these foundations are changing along with a change in healthcare towards an increase of home-based care. In this development the use of distance-spanning technology is becoming increasingly common. There is a need to develop more knowledge and a theory base about the role of the encounter and the relationship in home-based care. Most studies so far cover the topic in the context of hospital care. There is also need to develop more knowledge of experiences of distance-spanning technology in home-based care.The overall aim of this doctoral thesis was to explore home-based care with specific focus on the use of distance-spanning technology, encounters and relationships from the perspectives of persons in need of care, general practitioners (GPs) and registered nurses (RNs).The thesis contains studies with persons in need of home-based care (n=9), general practitioners (n=17) and registered nurses (n=24). The study with RNs consisted of registered nurses (n=13) and district nurses (n=11). The data was collected through individual interviews and group interviews and were analyzed by qualitative content analysis with various degrees of interpretations.Home-based care with mobile distance-spanning technology (MDST) was experienced as positive and it opens up possibilities, however MDST also has limitations. It was considered that MDST should be used by care professionals and not by the person in need of care or their family members. The MDST affects home-based care and the work and cooperation in home-based care. The expression was that a face-to-face encounter should be the norm and MDST cannot replace all face-to-face encounters in home-based care. MDST could work in some situation, but should be used with caution. The findings also show that good encounters in home-based nursing care contain dimensions of being personal and professional, and that the challenge is to create a good balance between these. Being together in the encounter is a prerequisite for the development of relationships and good nursing care at home is built on a trusting relationship. The relationship is a reciprocal relationship that the person and the nurse develop together and nurses have to consciously work on the relationship. It seems that a good encounter and a trusting relationship could affect the views on the use of distance-spanning technology in homebased care. The participants in the studies in general expressed positive attitude towards distancespanning technology at the same time as they expressed caution about an extensive use of it in home-based care. They highlighted the importance of positive encounters and the importance of the relationship in order to receive and provide good care and nursing care in the homes. The context of home-based care has changed and will continue to change over time. This change leads to that the use of distance-spanning technology is increasing and challenges the nurses to develop work strategies that can promote competence, caring and communication in the encounter, and building and maintaining relationships in home-based nursing care.