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The emotional labour of health-care assistants in inpatient dementia care

Bailey, Simon, Scales, Kezia, Lloyd, Joanne, Schneider, Justine, Jones, Rob (2015) The emotional labour of health-care assistants in inpatient dementia care. Ageing and Society, 35 (2). pp. 246-269. ISSN 0144-686X. (doi:10.1017/S0144686X13000573) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:76200)

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Although there is much written on the emotional labour of nursing, there is little research grounded in the experience of so-called ‘unqualified’ care assistants. This paper is drawn from an ethnographic study conducted with care assistants on three dementia care wards in one mental health trust within the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS). We describe the emotional labour carried out by care assistants in their attempts to provide personalised care for people whose cognitive degeneration renders conventional relationship-building very difficult, produces unpredictable ‘challenging behaviour’ and calls into question the notion of ‘feeling rules’. This context requires the ability to strike a balance between emotional engagement and detachment, and it is the complexities of this relationship that are the focus of this paper, arguing that a degree of detachment is a prerequisite to engagement in this context. In conclusion, we argue that the contribution of care assistants in this context needs to be better acknowledged, supported and remunerated.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0144686X13000573
Uncontrolled keywords: emotional labour, ethnography, dementia, care-givers, care-giving, engagement, detachment
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Simon Bailey
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2019 11:03 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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