Participant Observation In Nursing Home Wards For People Suffering From Dementia

2133 words, 9 pages

Intro Sample...

The research concentrated on how nursing homes develop their care for inhabitants suffering from dementia. In order to study this, I was a known observer at Evenswood nursing home in Kingston Ma for 10 days "Getting in" did not prove to be very problematic, but "getting along" was a lot harder. There was no reason for staff to like a snooping college kid. It was quite clear that the information I received was influenced by the way I was perceived. Moreover, the dementia the inhabitants of the wards suffer from and their reaction to it did not leave me indifferent

To get in to the nursing home, I first wrote a letter to the management, explaining what my research was about and asking if I could observe in the nursing home concerned. .... View More »

Body Sample...

Some staff member "accepted" me more easily if I participated in the work on the ward in one way or another, for instance by helping to feed some of the residents or by helping to clean up. Others on the contrary thought it strange that I would do some work and apologized extensively if I did have to do something.

A resident had died at a moment where there weren't many staff members present. Those available were needed to lay out the corpse and to tend to his relatives. I was left alone in the living room with the other inhabitants, who felt the tension and unease and acted upon that. A minute or so later, a nursing assistant enters the living room. She comes up to me and says: "I don't know what we would have done if you hadn't been here." I stammer that it would have worked out anyhow. Immediately after her, a nurse comes in. She looks very tired. She also comes up to me to thank me. Staff are taking a break in the kitchen and they ask me if I would like a cup of coffee too.

Mrs. A walks into the living room, in her night gown and totally confused. One of the two nursing assistants present takes her back to her room. The other one tells me someone smeared the window next to the door with buttermilk. He is looking for a rag to clean it up. I tell him I'll do it, so that he can go on with putting the residents to bed. He looks puzzled, but doesn't say anything. The buttermilk on the window has already dried and it takes me a while to clean it. In the meantime I overhear one nursing assistant asking the other if I am really cleaning up. While I'm on my knees ...

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