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Background: There is an increasing number of older adults living with long-term musculoskeletal pain and related disabilities. These problems are frequently unrecognized, underreported, and inadequately treated. Since many older adults desire to remain at home for as long as possible, it is important that individualized and holistically tailored care is provided in these settings. However, there is a complexity in providing care in this context. The aim of this study was to describe health care professionals’ experiences of providing health care to older adults living with long-term musculoskeletal pain at home.

Methods: The phenomenon, “To provide health care to older adults living with long-term musculoskeletal pain at home”, was studied using reflective lifeworld research (RLR) which is based on phenomenological epistemology. Ten health care providers (nurse, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists) were interviewed and data was analysed.

Results: The health care professional’s emotions fluctuated between powerlessness and meaningfulness. Needs, opportunities, understanding and respect had to be balanced in the striving to do good in the provision of health care in differing situations. Caring for older adults with long-term pain required courage to remain in the encounter despite feelings of insecurity and uncertainty about the direction of the dialogue. The essence of caring for older adults with long-term pain consisted of the following constituents: Sense of powerlessness; striving to provide good health care; and understanding and respect. Conclusions: The findings indicated that the health care professionals strived to do good and to provide health care that was holistic and sensitive to the older adults’ needs. A significant sense of powerlessness in the situation was experienced by the health care professionals. These findings address and support the need to develop methods that can be used to guide health care providers who support older adults in the context of their homes.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.