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'Entering a New World': empathic awareness as the key to positive family/staff relationships in care homes
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Geriatric. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Gerontological Nursing, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Care, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2002 (English)In: International Journal of Nursing Studies, ISSN 0020-7489, E-ISSN 1873-491X, Vol. 39, no 5, 507-515 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite an almost universal policy of community care, placing a relative in a care home will be an increasingly common event as population ageing continues. Studies suggest that most families wish to remain involved in care following placement but that they often experience difficulties in establishing relationships with staff. This paper reports on the fifth phase of a Swedish study exploring the experience of placement from a temporal perspective and including the views of all the key actors (relatives, staff in the community, staff in care homes). The focus here is placed on the perceptions of care home staff and their perceived role in relation to spouses who have recently placed a partner. The study adopted a grounded theory approach and data were collected from in-depth interviews with 16 staff members of varying grades and positions. Analysis of the data suggested 3 levels of awareness amongst staff: empathic awareness, guarded awareness and limited awareness. The characteristics of empathic awareness are outlined and its implications briefly considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 39, no 5, 507-515 p.
Keyword [en]
Care home placement, Family carers, Grounded theory, Partnership, Staff perceptions
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46840DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7489(01)00056-6OAI: diva2:267736
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2012-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Placing a spouse in a care home for older people: (re)-constructing roles and relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Placing a spouse in a care home for older people: (re)-constructing roles and relationships
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the process of placing a spouse in a care home for older people from the perspectives of the key actors involved. Due to the lack of previous studies in this area in Sweden and the desire to generate new insights that have the potential to inform practice developments a grounded theory methodology was adopted.

Data were collected using semi-structured interviews (70 in total) with spouses, adult children, community based staff and staff in care homes. Analyses of these data suggested that placement is best interpreted as a temporal experience comprising four stages: making the decision, making the move, adjusting to the move and reorientation. Each of the key actors offered differing insights into the way that the process as a whole was experienced with it emerging that in the initial two phases the primacy focus was on the practical and instrumental aspects of the move, with the emotional consequences being largely overlooked. This is a key issue as spouses were usually unprepared for the sense of separation and loss that the placement caused. Subsequently, spouses placed particular importance on maintaining their sense of involvement with their partner by a variety of 'keeping' activities. However, children and staff in care homes shared varying degrees of 'awareness' which influenced the way that relationships were forged.

Based on a synthesis of the data the core category and basic social process that emerged was termed '(re)-constructing roles and relationships'. This highlights the subtle and dynamic way that placement unfolds and reinforces the importance of understanding the process from multiple perspectives. In addition to providing new theoretical insights the thesis identifies a number of ways in which the placement process could be improved and suggests the need for more open and explicit discussion of a number of aspects, particularly the ways in which expectations of roles and relationships change over time. Thls is essential if spouses are to be better prepared and supported both for the sense of separation from their partner and for the need to integrate into the care home setting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2001. 71 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 710
family carers, care home placement, partnership, adult children, community staff, nursing staff, carer support, grounded theory
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28076 (URN)12840 (Local ID)91-7373-148-X (ISBN)12840 (Archive number)12840 (OAI)
Public defence
2001-12-13, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-11-09Bibliographically approved

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Sandberg, JonasLundh, Ulla
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