Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title:||Understanding the Nursing Home Care Processor: An Ethnographic Study|
|Keywords:||Australian nursing home care|
Aged care acceditation system
Assistant in Nursing, AIN
Clinical aged care nursing
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Health Sciences
|Abstract:||Aim and significance: The aim of this research was to explore the phenomenon of Australian nursing home care from the perspective of those who provide and receive it. Its focus is on the processes of ‘quality care’ provision and the meanings and evaluations that care providers attach to their work. In other words, its purpose was to shed light on the practices based on a conceptualisation of care that is entwined with the mechanisms of ‘care’ production and identity creation, or what actually happens in the daily life of the complex social phenomenon that is a nursing home. A related aim was to add to understandings of clinical nursing competence and develop tools that will assist nurses to conceptualise and implement positive change in this setting. Background: The provision of care to our elderly has become a major concern with the ageing of the world population. This is occurring in the context of decline in the capacity of families to take on the responsibility of elder care, and of increasing commercialisation of medical care. Governments have responded by shifting their responsibilities from direct care provision to become auditors of the business of care provision that is supported by public funding. However poor care delivery has largely been hidden from the public gaze. Governments present themselves as having systems in place, creating the illusion of rational control; in reality, like the market economy, there is a ‘black box’ of unknown factors driven by human impulse. The aim of this study was to open up the black box of ‘quality care’ to direct observation, drawing insights from the literature on organisational culture and with a focus on the frontline worker and the construct of quality assurance. Specific research objectives were to: • Document the beliefs and attitudes of care providers towards elderly people in general and the needs of nursing home residents in particular • Elicit the range of meanings and evaluations that care providers attach to their work • Describe their constructions of ‘care’ and ‘quality of care’ and the organisational factors they believe to impact (positively and negatively) on their ability to provide it. • Through in-depth understanding of a particular setting, generate grounded theoretical insights into the phenomenon of quality of residential care that are more widely applicable Method: The study adopted a paradigmatic bricoleur approach, seeking to develop connections between a diverse range of methodologies. These included combinative ethnography, phenomenology, hermeneutics and traditional grounded theory. Conceptual insights were drawn from organisational studies, psychosocial nursing and coping theory. The research site was an Australian for-profit suburban nursing home. The student investigator conducted more than 500 hours of participant observation, recording extensive field notes which were analysed through the perspective of a hermeneutic middle way horizon that directed an augmented constant comparison traditional grounded theory approach. Additional data were collected through formal indepth interviews with six key stakeholders. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed in full and analysed to reveal themes that were brought within a hermeneutic circle that spiralled recursively from the whole to the part and back to the whole. Findings: Eight key interrelated factors in the production of care within the nursing home were identified: internal and external accountability (the accreditation system); economic considerations; management and training; advocacy; characteristic of residents; care providers’ working conditions and environmental stressors; organisational culture; and the work/care styles of individual care providers. I have categorised the latter into two main types: ‘tortoises’ and ‘hares’. This typology is then used to generate a process-driven schematic diagram that tracks a hypothetical novice care provider through the process of learning how to produce ‘care’. Specifically, I found that nursing home ‘care’ is the outcome of a complex social process involving the interplay between resident, relative, care provider, proprietor, quality assessors and government within the phenomenon of the nursing home. Such care, indeed the phenomenon of the nursing home itself, is not a stable, controllable entity but is in a constant state of flux – what I refer to as a moral ecology. In their everyday practice, care providers devise a construction of ‘quality care’ that is more clearly grounded in their own worldviews and the development of the own identity than in the formal quality assurance system of standards, guidelines and evaluations. Conclusion: Understanding the ‘black box’ of processes that produce care is the key to identifying courses of action that will improve care outcomes. The study findings also question the validity, assumptions and significance of the accreditation system, which only identifies some of the component variables, disregarding both the complexity within the ‘black box’ and failing to acknowledge that the quality of care outcomes is overwhelmingly dependent on individual care providers.|
|Description:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
This work is protected by Copyright. All rights reserved. Access to this work is provided for the purposes of personal research and study. Except where permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this work must not be copied or communicated to others without the express permission of the copyright owner. Use the persistent URI in this record to enable others to access this work.
|PhD thesis Hui-Wen Chien 2009.pdf||PhD thesis in full||2.85 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
Items in Sydney eScholarship Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.