This article concerns the experiences gained from the action research project, Quality in Elder Care, involving social dimensions of quality in public elder care. The aim of the project was to improve the professional skills and engagement of the care workers and to improve the life quality and participation of the residents. Furthermore, the idea was that the project could strengthen a public and professional discourse about more democratic and inclusive alternatives (for staff as well as residents) to the currently growing bureaucracy and expansion of top-down control systems in elder care. The project was inspired by critical utopian action research with future workshops as an important methodological tool. The project followed the core characteristics of action research to be “a shared commitment to democratic social change”. The article discusses how the project contributed to changes in care quality in a joint effort between care workers, residents at the nursing home, and researchers. It concludes that the project led to empowerment of the residents and staff and played an important role in the development of democratic knowledge building about better quality and ethics in elder care.
- action research, elder care, nursing homes