Background: We know that freedom is an existential human matter, and researchshows that freedom remains important throughout life. Freedom is also importantfor older people, but further research is needed to determine how these peopleexperience their freedom. The background for this article was a Scandinavian studythat occurred in nursing homes; the purpose of the study was to gain knowledgeabout whether the residents felt that their dignity was maintained and respected.Design: The design was hermeneutic, with qualitative research interviews.
Method: Twenty‐eight residents living in nursing homes in Denmark, Sweden andNorway were interviewed. Collecting tools used were an interview guide and also atape recorder. Researchers in the three countries performed the interviews. Thedata were transcribed and analysed on three levels of hermeneutic interpretation.Results: To have their freedom was emphasised as very important according totheir experience of having their dignity taken care of. The following main themesemerged: (a) Autonomy or paternalism; (b) Inner and outer freedom; and (c) Depen-dence as an extra burden.
Conclusions: Residents in a nursing home may experience the feeling of having losttheir freedom. This conclusion has implications for healthcare professionals andresearchers, as it is important for residents in nursing homes to feel that they stillhave their freedom.Relevance to clinical practice: In clinical practice, it is important and valuable for thestaff to consider how they can help older people feel that they still have their freedom.