Date of Decision:6/29/2017
Report against the Care and Nursing Administration of Karlstad Municipality that an elderly woman at a nursing home was not permitted to make video calls on her tablet in the nursing home’s common areas
A woman, born in 1937, was granted assistance in the form of a nursing home with home-help service. She lived in her own apartment at the nursing home in accordance with a special rental contract. The rental contract was accompanied by a right to spend time in the nursing home’s common areas. The question in the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s case is whether the administration had reason to notify the woman that she was not permitted to use her tablet for video calls in the nursing home’s common areas due to the rules of order that applied for the nursing home.
When several people live in a housing unit, it may in the view of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen be necessary for several reasons to have certain rules of order regarding the common living environment, which among other things aim to create security and comfort for all who live there. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen therefore see no inherent obstacle to certain rules of order being set up for common areas at a housing unit.
In the assessment of whether the administration had reason for its notice to the woman, one must take into account the woman’s strive to live like anyone else to the furthest extent possible and her right to self-determination, as well as the justified interest of the respect for the integrity of other residents.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen state that, depending among other things on individual needs and wishes of the elderly and the structure of the premises, it should be possible to find practical solutions without disregarding any of the above interests.
In light of this, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen doubt that the woman was entirely prohibited as a result of the municipality’s rules of order from making video calls on her tablet in the nursing home’s common areas. The administration should have reasonably been able to arrange the matter so that the woman could have made her calls without it entailing any conflict with other interests in the operations. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen do not consider there to be adequate reason to express any criticism against the administration.