Preserving client autonomy when guiding medicine taking in telehomecare: A conversation analytic case study

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Background: Enhancing client autonomy requires close coordination of interactional practices between nurse and client, which can cause challenges when interaction takes place in video-mediated settings. While video-mediated services have become more common, it remains unclear how they shape client autonomy in telehomecare. Research aim: To analyse how video mediation shapes client autonomy when nurses guide medicine taking remotely through video-mediated home care. Research design: This is a conversation analytic case study using video recordings of telehomecare encounters. The theoretical approach draws on ethnomethodology and empirical ethics. Participants and research context: Four home-dwelling older adults and three nurses participated in the data collection; data extracts include one client and two nurses. The study was conducted in Finland. Ethical considerations: Special attention was given to protect the rights of home care clients. An ethical statement for the study was given by the Ethics Committee of the Tampere Region Findings: Video mediation complicates interacting remotely with care-relevant artefacts because of nurses’ limited visual access to the medicine and client’s need to simultaneously engage in vocal interaction and medicine taking. This can be overcome by dividing the guidance into manageable steps which invite the client to explicate their readiness to take the medicine and situating the video-mediation equipment and medicine close together. Different interactional practices and ways of situating video-mediation equipment and medicine have consequences for client autonomy. Discussion: Understanding client autonomy in digitalised settings demands empirical examination that recognises the importance of different human and non-human aspects of care that shape client autonomy. Conclusions: To harness the benefits of video-mediated home care, communication technologies’ reliance on home space and interactional practices should be recognised. Empirical ethics research is needed in order to make normative suggestions that fit a wide variety of care situation.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Autonomy
  • Finland
  • older adults
  • qualitative research
  • telehomecare
  • video-mediated interaction

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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