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‘Making the best of things’: relatives' experiences of decisions about care-home entry

Davies, S. and Nolan, M. (2003) ‘Making the best of things’: relatives' experiences of decisions about care-home entry. Ageing and Society, 23 (4). pp. 429-450. ISSN 0144-686X


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Despite the growing awareness of the significance of helping a relative to relocate to a care home as a key phase in the care-giving career, relatively few British studies have explored this experience in depth. Informed by a constructivist perspective, this study sought a better understanding of nursing home placements from the viewpoint of relatives. Data were collected in 37 semi-structured interviews involving 48 people who had assisted a close relative to move into a nursing home.

Analysis revealed three perceived phases to the transition: ‘making the best of it’, ‘making the move’ and ‘making it better’. The relatives' experiences through these phases had five perceived elements, all of which were continua, from absent to very strong, reflecting the extent to which they were felt. They were: operating ‘under pressure’ or not; ‘in the know’ or ‘working in the dark’; ‘working together’ or ‘working alone’; ‘in control of events’ or not, and ‘supported’ or ‘unsupported’ both practically and emotionally. This paper reports findings about the first phase of the transition, ‘making the best of it’, and documents the experiences of decision-making about nursing home placements. It is argued that health and social care practitioners have enormous potential to influence whether or not helping a relative to move into a nursing home is perceived as a positive choice.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2003 Cambridge University Press. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: nursing homes, admission to care homes, family carers, care transitions
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Nursing and Midwifery (Sheffield) > Department of Community, Ageing, Rehabilitation, Education & Research (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2006
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 21:42
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X03001259
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0144686X03001259
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1520

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