Globally, life expectancy is increasing, as is the need for effective care responses to chronic health conditions, global emergencies and health disparities. Alongside this is a shortage of skilled caregivers. This four-country qualitative study investigates the views of ‘care’ and ‘care careers’ of Generation Z (the next generation to join the workforce). Four cross-cultural themes emerged: conceptualising care; objects and subjects of care; recognising the challenges of care; and appreciating care work. Discussed in relation to Tronto’s analysis of care, these themes illuminate Generation Z’s commitment to care and highlight the need for organisational and political action to attract young people to care careers.
Under-provision of long-term care services for people with support needs may have consequences for both them and their unpaid carers. Using in-depth interviews with 23 co-resident carers living in England, our study aimed to explore the impacts of unmet need on unpaid carers and how such impacts occur. Unmet need for services – services not being received or gaps between provision and need – had multidimensional impacts on carers. Key mechanisms were constrained opportunities through limited time or emotional resources, and constrained choices about whether and how to provide care, as well as over multiple other aspects of their lives.
We investigated perceptions of identity in Alzheimer’s disease and behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia. We asked family members of people with dementia to describe them before and after onset of the disease, comparing across type (Alzheimer’s disease versus behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia) and time period. Family members’ perceptions of people with dementia changed over time. Compared with Alzheimer’s disease, behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia was perceived to cause greater disruption to identity and more often associated with negative moral traits. We found a relationship between assessments of moral character and perceived self-continuity. Our data revealed different ways family members navigate stability and change in the identity of their loved ones with dementia.
This worldwide crisis initiated frantic comparison (and competition) between nations to search for a response to the coronavirus. Sweden has been more than ever in the spotlight, under media and popular scrutiny. The daily briefings of Anders Tegnell and his sidekicks were followed by journalists and experts around the world. Initially there were more favourable opinions about a strategy that avoided lockdown and mitigated the effects on the economy, but it became increasingly controversial as the mortality rate rose. This chapter reflects on the comparison of policies, statistics, infection rates, death counts and the moral and normative dimensions that surrounded the justification of each nation’s ‘strategy’, along with forms of ‘health care nationalism’ that emerged in many countries, and markedly in Sweden. Indeed, the high and stable legitimacy of the Public Health Agency, FHM, and its main experts has been striking and in sharp contrast with the situation in other European countries w[h]ere experts and politicians alike have faced sharp criticism. I show that this is coherent with traditional forms of trust in science, expertise and public institutions in this society but that it also hides a tendency to avoid divisions and conflicts
This chapter reviews the initial phases of the Swedish response to the epidemic emergency. The ‘slow’ and ‘delayed’ response Sweden was criticized for is accounted for in all its complexity. It is important to try to explain why Sweden deviated so much from the rest of Europe, in comparison with its direct neighbours, but also by contrast to its own history of handling epidemic crises. This response met with a lot of astonishment, especially in light of the fact that Sweden has one of the lowest hospital bed capacity in the OECD and could have been expected to react very differently. While the role of FHM, the Public Health Agency, and of its chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, corresponded to a traditional form of administrative independence and heeding of expertise, it went much further than what is generally expected, and other factors must be taken into account to make sense of their unprecedented influence. The lack of certain legal instruments is also important in this regard. The most controversial debate around ‘herd immunity’ and whether Sweden strived to achieve and even more or less openly promoted are some of the issues discussed in this chapter.
There has hardly ever been so much focus on Sweden in such a limited period of time. The Swedish model has for a long time been a source of interest around the world, attracting more positive views from the Centre-Left, and more negative ones from the critics of egalitarian and redistributive policies. With ongoing public sector and welfare reforms since the 1990s, Sweden has gained unexpected new supporters from the economically liberal Right. This crisis seems to have turned the classical lines of support upside down, with a new coalition of libertarians and populist right-wingers now much more prone to praise the Swedish defence of civil liberties and of business interests, the responsibility of citizens in respecting health recommendations, whereas traditional supporters have been more critical of the failure of an advanced welfare state to protect its vulnerable elderly population and to reduce the mortality rate on a par with its Nordic neighbours. The crisis and resulting commissions of inquiry also modified the parameters of stated intervention while reframing the debate on welfare and elderly care reforms and on the structure of crisis management.
The slower resurgence of contaminations in the autumn of 2020 seemed to give credit to the Swedish approach and showed a temporary return to grace in international media. While the experts still enjoyed a high level of trust, some cracks started to appear with inquiries into the failure to protect vulnerable elderly populations. The idea that democracy and political responsibility had been undermined by excessive trust in expertise and bureaucracy became more widely discussed. Some unusual criticism was even voiced in Norway and Denmark and, with the return of the virus, there were indications of a strategy shift with stricter measures and new pandemic legislation by the end of 2020. Nevertheless, it all took place in the same pragmatic and calm fashion that had characterized the management of the epidemic so far. Although still criticized for its higher mortality compared to its neighbours, Sweden carried on with a vaccine roll out in 2021, escaping most controversies in this respect until the implementation of a vaccine pass. The crisis is not over and further consequences are to be expected from the inquiries into the national strategy and its potential failures.
With Sweden traditionally hailed as a social and economic model, it is no wonder that the Swedish response to the COVID-19 pandemic raised a lot of questions – and eyebrows – around the world. This short book explores Sweden’s unique response to the global pandemic and the strong wave of controversies it triggered.
It helps to makes sense of the response by defining ‘a Swedish model’ that incorporates the country’s value system, underpinning its politics and administration in relation to, among other things, welfare, democracy, civil liberties and respect for expertise. The book also acts as a case study for understanding the moral and normative ways in which different national approaches to the pandemic have been compared.