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Medicine in old age - perception and assessment of ageing processes by older people and medical and nursing professionals

Given the advanced possibilities in medical treatment in contemporary medicine, subproject (SP) 6 aims to explore healthcare preferences of older persons as well as the healthcare priorities of healthcare professionals who treat older patients. We assume that the preference for or rejection of medical treatment is influenced by individual and social age patterns as well as by the awareness of the finiteness of life.

Just like older people themselves, the ideas of healthcare professionals are also shaped by social images of old age and the associated ideas of age-appropriate health. These concepts are constantly changing. What was considered to be a 'normal' symptom of old age 100 years ago is now treated medically as a disease. Based on this assumption, SP 6 uses focus group discussions and supplementary individual interviews with older people and medical and nursing professionals to investigate how ageing processes are perceived. In addition, we will investigate how such processes are evaluated (i.e. the conflict between "trivialisation" and "pathologisation"). We will also investigate the care preferences and priorities of the three groups.

The interdisciplinary orientation of the overall project allows analytical terms and theoretical concepts from SP 1 (philosophy) and SP 7 (ethics of geriatric medicine) to be taken into account for data collection. In addition, we also integrate the effects of social norms emerging from the narratives in film and television from SP 2. Further, the results of focus group discussions and individual interviews will deliver empirical data that support the ethical debates about the perception of a good life and especially on successful ageing and a medical and nursing perspective. Thus, SP 6 will broaden the ethical debates on ideas of a good life in relation to old age and also on a medical and nursing perspective. It will contribute significantly to the development of theories in medical ethics.


Senior Researcher: Prof. Dr. Eva Hummers
  Dr. Evelyn Kleinert
Research Assistant: Laura Mohacsi M.A.
Associated Member: Susanne Heim M.A.