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Why are relatives of care home residents reluctant to ‘rock the boat’? Is there a culture of acceptance?

Welch, Elizabeth, Palmer, Sinead, Towers, Ann-Marie, Smith, Nick (2016) Why are relatives of care home residents reluctant to ‘rock the boat’? Is there a culture of acceptance? Working with Older People, 21 (2). pp. 124-132. ISSN 1366-3666. (doi:10.1108/WWOP-10-2016-0030) (KAR id:57942)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore whether relatives of care home residents are best placed to act as ‘champions’ or advocates for their family members, as is often the expectation.

Design/methodology/approach - Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 25 relatives of residents in four care homes for older people in the South East of England. Two rounds of focus groups were held in each participating care home: the first was to discuss any issues arising from the care received, or concerns about the home itself; the second was to enable a deeper exploration of the key themes that arose from the first round and explore why relatives, in this case, failed to complain.

Findings - Thematic analysis revealed a complex range of emotions experienced by relatives that contributed to a conflict between what they believed to be the correct response and how they behaved in reality, which led to a culture of acceptance. Analysis revealed some relatives were reluctant to ‘interfere’ for fear of possible negative repercussions, thus they downplayed issues in an attempt not to ‘rock the boat’.

Originality/value - This paper discusses the flaws in the policy emphasis on personalisation and the reliance on family members as advocates, and concludes with suggestions on how care homes may foster an environment where relatives, and indeed residents, feel comfortable to raise issues and concerns.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/WWOP-10-2016-0030
Uncontrolled keywords: Care homes, relatives, family members, complaints, advocacy, focus groups.
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Depositing User: Jane Dennett
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 14:29 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:32 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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