Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/21884
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Experiences of Dementia Care Workers in Nursing Homes: An Exploratory Study Comparing Canada, Scotland, and the United States
Authors: Johnson, Roxanna H
Supervisor(s): McCabe, Louise
Keywords: Care Workers
Nursing Homes
Residents
Dementia
Care Worker Training
Organisational Characteristics
Stigma
Human Rights
Canada
Scotland
United States
Cross-national Comparative Research
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This comparative research explores the work experiences of dementia care workers in nursing homes. The aim of this study is to understand concepts central to care and to gain insights from the care workers‟ perspectives. A comparative framework and symbolic interactionist approach is used to analyse data collected using ethnographic methods from 59 dementia care workers in Canada, Scotland, and the United States. The fieldwork settings are institutionalised; dominated by for-profit ownership; and provide care for a resident population with high cognitive and physical needs. The comparative findings underscore the importance of work conditions that provide care workers with sufficient resources to do their job and enough time to complete their work. The absence of these critical components creates stressful work conditions for the care workers. The lack of time, staff and supplies such as towels, wash cloths, and continence products do not allow the residents‟ choices in their care and disregard their dignity and rights. The inability to deliver care for the residents according to the guaranteed government care standards often result in the violation of human rights for the care workers and residents. The care workers are unable to supply the quality of care they know the residents need and are capable of providing given better circumstances. There are frequently not enough care workers, resources, or time to meet the level of care that relevant standards mandate or the care workers know is possible. The analysis reveals that care workers struggle to provide more than basic physical care and are seldom able to meet essential social care needs for the residents. Unwritten rules are implemented in each setting that include separating people with dementia, placing these residents out of view of the public, not allowing the residents access to go outside, and not providing them with engaging and meaningful interactions. While policies are frequently developed with good intentions, many are counter-productive without dementia knowledge. This comparative research reveals care practices and routines share strong similarities across the fieldwork sites while the care worker characteristics as a workforce vary the most between countries. Some differences involve the training required, average age, pay and mode of dress or appearances. Too often researchers frame stress issues for care workers as problems with attitudes, motivation, training and incentives. Yet, the broader social structures and conditions that set the context in which these problems have their origins are commonly ignored. Good working conditions for care workers are precursors to good care for the residents. This thesis concludes with recommendations for practice, research and policy development.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/21884

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