Autonomy in long-term care: a need, a right or a luxury?

Boyle, Geraldine (2008). Autonomy in long-term care: a need, a right or a luxury? Disability and Society, 23(4) pp. 299–310.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687590802038795

Abstract

Doyal and Gough’s theory of human need highlighted that personal autonomy is a universal need and human right, essential for well‐being. In applying their theory to older disabled people in the UK the author suggests that their ‘minimally autonomous’ threshold would exclude some older people in long‐term care who still have a fundamental need for autonomy or, alternatively, extant autonomy. The disability movement has highlighted that independent living is fundamental to achieving self‐determination for disabled people and debate on equality and caregiving emphasises the autonomy of carers. However, there is a lack of recognition in both academic research and government policy of autonomy as a need and right of older disabled people. The author argues that autonomy is a human right of older people living in long‐term care settings, but that social rights are necessary to facilitate their autonomy.

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