Autonomy is a key aspect for elderly patients, associated with experiences of personal integrity and dignity. However, studies indicate that their self-determination can be threatened when they receive home care nursing. The purpose of the present study was to describe elderly patients’ lived experiences of autonomy in relation to home care nursing. Based on a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, six interviews were conducted with patients aged between 77–88 years. All patients were living at home and dependent on home care nursing. The findings revealed four themes: (1) The handing over of tasks to the nurse, (2) The influence of everyday routines, (3) Resisting or giving up, 4) Having to adapt to a regulating organization. The study concludes that autonomy is embedded in complex power relations at both individual and organizational levels, especially as patients experience both normal everyday routines and the organizational framework itself as overpowering and undermining their autonomy.

Keywords: autonomy, self-determination, home care nursing, phenomenological hermeneutic approach