Recommendations for Measuring Older Populations in Institutions

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This publication provides guidance to national statistical offices on whether, when and how to include institutional populations of older persons in social surveys and other data sources to produce statistics on topics related to ageing.



Ethical considerations for collecting information on older populations in institutions

214. Collecting data from older people living in institutions poses several ethical challenges. Some of these challenges arise from the nature of the respondents (older people, possibly with functional and/or cognitive limitations), but are not necessarily unique to older populations in institutions. That is, the same issues can arise when collecting data from older people in private households. Other ethical questions arise as a result of the institutional setting, and apply to any institutional population (for example, surrounding privacy during interviews, confidentiality and freedom to opt out). In both cases, there is already considerable research and guidance available, including guidance developed in the academic arena whose principles could be transferred to the context of official statistics to assist NSOs in their data gathering. The particular ethical challenges for this topic, for which there is, as yet, less guidance at hand, come from the combination of these two factors – older respondents and institutional settings – which necessitates extra care in designing and conducting surveys.


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