Post-print of: Hughes, M 2004, 'Privacy in aged care', Australasian Journal on Ageing, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 110-114.
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The extension of privacy laws to cover private sector providers and the proposal of a National Health Privacy Code highlight the importance of examining privacy issues in aged care policy and practice. Although privacy in health and aged care may also include physical, psychological and social dimensions, it is informational privacy that is the focus of these recent changes. In the present paper, a range of privacy practices in aged care are examined, drawing on theoretical, policy, practice and research literature. It is argued that aged care policy makers and providers need to move beyond the setting of privacy principles and management strategies, and also examine specific day-to-day privacy practices as they occur in different aged care settings. While privacy is often a valued commodity, the construction of an issue as private can sometimes be seen to limit the expression of diverse identities and to reinforce social inequality.