The Admission of Older People Into Residential Care Homes in Argentina: Coercion and Human Rights Abuse

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Background and Objectives: There is very little information about the appropriateness of procedures for admitting older people into care homes in low and middle-income countries like Argentina. This study provides the first systematic study of practice and assesses the extent to which current practice respects fundamental human rights.

Research Design and Methods: We apply different methods, including document review and national survey analysis. The study also includes a case study of a single city, La Plata, which draws on local key informant interviews, focus group discussions in different neighborhoods, and a clandestine surrogate patient survey led by local pensioners. This innovative design provides a highly triangulated and contextualized data set.

Results: Many older people admitted to care homes did not have high levels of care dependency. Care homes did not usually require or even seek the informed consent of older people, regardless of their cognitive status. There were indications of coercive admission by family members, sometimes in order to obtain access to older people’s homes and other property and finances.

Discussion and Implications: The study indicates the widespread abuse of the fundamental human rights of tens of thousands of older people in Argentina. There is a need for researchers, policy-makers, and civil society to acknowledge the scale of abuse and develop safeguards.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610–618
Number of pages9
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number4
Early online date23 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


    Research areas

  • Abuse, Admission, Argentina, Care homes

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