The limits and ethics of autonomy and choice in older people who are care-dependent

Presenter: Professor Joan Ostaszkiewicz, Professor Katie Featherstone, and Dr Tiina Vaittinen

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About the presentation

This special end-of-year seminar brings together three researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds whose research draws attention to the limits and ethics of autonomy and choice in older people who require assistance with everyday personal care, particularly transgressive intimate care. The researchers present findings from their individual programs of research that illuminate cultures of care in institutional care settings that privilege practices of containment, restriction, and restraint and inadvertently undermine the autonomy of people who are care-dependent. Using continence care as an exemplar, they will argue for an ethic of care that recognises the reciprocity inherent in caregiving relationships and reframing the concept of autonomy to accommodate the needs and dependency of the care-dependent individual and upholds their dignity.

About the presenter

Professor Joan Ostaszkiewicz  is a Principal Research Fellow and Director of Aged Care at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). She oversees a program of research focusing on ageing and aged care, including continence caregiving, dementia caregiving, social support, quality of care and aged care systems support and evaluation. During this seminar, Joan will be presenting on building a new vision for care in residential aged care homes.

Professor Katie Featherstone is Professor of Sociology and Medicine and Director of the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory, University of West London. Her research examines institutional cultures of care, drawing on traditions in ethnography and medical sociology. During this seminar, Katie will be presenting on ‘Pad cultures’ and their consequences: a hospital ethnography of continence care for people living with dementia

Dr Tiina Vaittinen is University Researcher in Tampere University, Finland. She is a transdisciplinary social scientist and ethnographer, whose work focuses on social justice and political economies of health and social care and their complex local and global entanglements. She has developed an ethics of needs as an extension of feminist ethics of care, with a particular interest in the corporeal ethics, politics, and economics of dementia care. During this seminar, Tiina will be presenting on relational autonomies and embodied choreographies: Rethinking the concept autonomy through intimate dementia care.

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Further information: [email protected]