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Human rights and care homes for older people: a typology of approaches from academic literature as a starting point for activist scholarship in human rights and institutional care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Early online date4 Aug 2021
E-pub ahead of print4 Aug 2021
Published4 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding Dr Caroline Green, King’s College London, is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • 13642987.2021

    13642987.2021.pdf, 1.87 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:05 Aug 2021

    Version:Final published version

King's Authors


Care homes for older people attract human rights discourse. This has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected care home communities with various human rights ramifications. Activist scholarship in human rights can contribute to the protection and realisation of the rights of people living, working in and visiting care homes through high-quality research. This article reports the findings of an analysis of pre-pandemic scholarship that explored the ways authors approached the topic of human rights of older people in care homes. The aim was to produce a typology of approaches to the topic as a basis for critical reflection and as a starting point for future activist scholarship in gerontology, social policy and law. Reflexive thematic analysis of 23 international English-language peer-reviewed articles published between 1998 and March 2019 was undertaken. Analysis was framed in the context of the health and social care setting of England. The article reports the pertinent and common assumptions that care homes are ‘inherently risky’ places for the protection of the human rights of ‘vulnerable’ care home residents. The article highlights five types of approaches: the anti-institutional, the legalistic, the care quality, the equality approach, and the issue-based approach.

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