Struggle for self-determination among service users in Norway
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Struggle for self-determination among service users in Norway

Bjørn-Eirik Johnsen Associate professor, Harstad University College, Harstad, Norway
Leif Lysvik Associate professor, Harstad University College, Harstad, Norway
Terje Thomsen Associate professor, Harstad University College, Harstad, Norway

Bjørn-Eirik Johnsen and colleagues describe the experience of a former resident of a large institution in Norway who today lives an independent life in her local community

By the end of 1991, institutional care for people with learning disabilities ended in Norway and former residents were relocated to their local communities. This article describes the experiences of one of these former residents, who had had negative experiences in the wards of a large institution where staff controlled her and treated her harshly. When she moved into a rented apartment in the local community she had a degree of control over her life, but the same staff were employed to support her and mistreated her as before. Their eventual replacement by younger, better trained care workers, who understood ethical practice and recognised service users’ right to equality, respect and self-determination, greatly improved her experience. One of the most valued outcomes of her experience is that, today, she makes her own decisions about her everyday life.

Learning Disability Practice. 17, 10,31-34. doi: 10.7748/ldp.17.10.31.e1599

Correspondence

bjorn-eirik.johnsen@hih.no

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 29 September 2014

Accepted: 20 October 2014