Identifying Needs in Elderly Clients with Migrant Backgrounds:

are understandings of cross-cultural interaction, ethnic ‘Otherness’ and gender relevant for need assessment practice?

Primary investigator: Prof. Sandra Torres

Collaborators: Dr. Anna Olaison (Linköping University) & Dr. Emilia Forssell (Ersta Sköndal University College)


2009-2010 funded by internal funding awarded by Linköping University; from 2011-2012 funded by external funding awarded to the PI by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.

This project departs from the research gaps that exist in the debate on institutional categorization as far as the implications of ethnic ‘Otherness’ and gender are concerned. There is also a gap in the manner in which such understandings affect the political economy of care that this project aims to address. The project focuses on need assessment practice in elderly care and aims therefore to explore if and how understandings of cross-cultural care interaction, ethnic ‘Otherness’ and gender affect the manners in which need assessment processes legitimize and restrict access to certain elderly care services.

Two studies have been conducted in this project: one focusing on the understandings that need assessors within elderly care uphold and another one focusing on the documentation that they use in order to legitimize the services that they make available to older people who seek the services provided by Swedish elderly care. Data for the first mentioned study was collected through focus groups interviews (a total of 60 need assessors were interviewed) while data for the second study was collected via need assessment documentation (a total of 202 cases have been analyzed).

Through the various publications and conference presentations listed below, the project has aimed primarily to contribute to debates in social work having to do with need assessment practice and documentation. Ultimately, the project aims to contribute to practitioners and policy makers’ understandings of the manner in which the understandings in question affect the manner in which needs are assessed within the context of elderly care. This is why lectures have been given based on the findings and why a popular scientific publication (see #1 below) has been written. 

As noted in the lists below, publications based on this project are still in the pipeline so to speak which is why we suggest that those interested in receiving more information on them, check this website regularly.