DOI: 10.1177/09697330241238340 ISSN: 0969-7330

Gerontechnologies, ethics, and care phases: Secondary analysis of qualitative interviews

Andrea Martani, Yi Jiao (Angelina) Tian, Nadine Felber, Tenzin Wangmo
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


Gerontechnologies are increasingly used in the care for older people. Many studies on their acceptability and ethical implications are conducted, but mainly from the perspective of principlism. This narrows our ethical gaze on the implications the use of these technologies have.

Research question

How do participants speak about the impact that gerontechnologies have on the different phases of care, and care as a process? What are the moral implications from an ethic of care perspective?

Research design

Secondary analysis of semi-structure interviews, whose segments on specific technologies were analysed through reflexive thematic analysis.

Participants and research context

Sixty-seven Swiss stakeholders involved in the use of gerontechnologies, including professional caregivers, informal caregivers, and older persons themselves.

Ethical considerations

The research study was evaluated by the Ethics Commission of Northwest and Central Switzerland (EKNZ). All participants received an information document before the interview date detailing the purpose, procedure, and anonymization measures. After explaining the study during the agreed upon interview time and upon receiving their written informed consent, the interview process began.


Four themes are identified: Identifying care needs, Taking responsibility, Hands-on work, Responding to care. As part of these themes, many codes highlighting the ambivalent impact of gerontechnologies are created, ranging from ‘Expanded capacity for…identifying care needs’ to ‘Create new & (un)necessary…hands-on work’. The moral implications of these results from the care ethics perspective are discussed, through the ethical elements of: attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and responsiveness.


The moral implications of gerontechnologies on care phases from the care ethics perspective open up several questions on whether they actually help give care a central role in social life and provide more competent care.