Developing relationships in care homes- the contribution of staff, residents and families

Christine Brown Wilson, Susan Davies, Mike Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Personal relationships are an integral part of living, working and visiting in care homes, but little research has made relationships the main focus of enquiry, and there have been few studies of the perspectives of residents, staff and family members. The study reported here sought to redress this neglect. Using a constructivist approach, the nature and types of relationships between residents, staff and family members were explored in three care homes in England using combined methods including participant observation, interviews and focus groups. The data collection and analysis occurred iteratively over 21 months and three types of relationships were identified: ‘pragmatic relationships’ that primarily focus on the instrumental aspects of care; ‘personal and responsive relationships’ that engage more fully with the particular needs of individual residents; and ‘reciprocal relationships’ that recognise the roles of residents, staff and family members in creating a sense of community within the home. This paper explores the contributions made by staff, residents and family members in the development of these relationships. The findings enhance our understanding of the role of inter-personal relationships in care home settings and of the factors that condition them. The implications for developing improved practice in care homes are also considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1063
Number of pages22
JournalAgeing & Society
Volume29
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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Home Care Services
home care
family member
resident
staff
Focus Groups
England
participant observation
Observation
Interviews
neglect
pragmatics
data analysis
Staff
Residents
Research
interview
community
Group

Keywords

  • Older people
  • Care homes
  • Relationships
  • Relationship Centred Care

Cite this

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Developing relationships in care homes- the contribution of staff, residents and families. / Brown Wilson, Christine; Davies, Susan; Nolan, Mike.

In: Ageing & Society, Vol. 29, No. 7, 2009, p. 1041-1063.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Personal relationships are an integral part of living, working and visiting in care homes, but little research has made relationships the main focus of enquiry, and there have been few studies of the perspectives of residents, staff and family members. The study reported here sought to redress this neglect. Using a constructivist approach, the nature and types of relationships between residents, staff and family members were explored in three care homes in England using combined methods including participant observation, interviews and focus groups. The data collection and analysis occurred iteratively over 21 months and three types of relationships were identified: ‘pragmatic relationships’ that primarily focus on the instrumental aspects of care; ‘personal and responsive relationships’ that engage more fully with the particular needs of individual residents; and ‘reciprocal relationships’ that recognise the roles of residents, staff and family members in creating a sense of community within the home. This paper explores the contributions made by staff, residents and family members in the development of these relationships. The findings enhance our understanding of the role of inter-personal relationships in care home settings and of the factors that condition them. The implications for developing improved practice in care homes are also considered.

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