Respecting care home residents’ right to privacy: what is the evidence of good practice?

Caroline Emmer De Albuquerque Green*, Anthea Tinker, Jill Manthorpe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss evidence of good practice in respecting care home residents’ right to privacy. The right to privacy is a fundamental human right as enshrined in international and domestic law and standards. In the context of increasing interest in using a human rights approach to social care in care homes for older people, this literature review summarises research evidence on what respecting the human right to privacy of care home residents entails in practice. Design/methodology/approach: This literature review followed a rigorous systematic approach to the scoping review, inspired by the Joanna Biggs Institute’s guidelines for conducting systematic reviews. A total of 12 articles were included in the review. Findings: The research took a multidimensional understanding of privacy in their studies. The dimensions can be categorised as physical, inter-relational or related to personal data. The review highlights three good practice points. First, it is good privacy practice in care homes to make available single-occupancy bedrooms to residents since this offers the opportunity to personalising this physical space with furniture and web belongings, adding a sense of ownership over the space. Second, residents appreciate being able to choose when and how they spend their time in their own bedrooms. Third, it is good practice to respect residents’ private physical space and private choices, for example by knocking on doors before entering or agreeing with the resident when it is permissible to enter. The review also found that in some studies privacy considerations were relevant to communal living areas within care homes, including the use of surveillance cameras and the sharing of personal data. Originality/value: This literature review adds to the body of academic literature on human rights and social care in practice. It also highlights areas for future research relating to the right to privacy in care homes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-210
JournalWorking with Older People
Issue number4
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018


  • Care homes
  • Good practice
  • Human rights
  • Older people
  • Right to privacy


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