An inquiry into what organised difficult advance care planning conversations in a Scottish residential care home using institutional ethnography

Reid, L., Kydd, A. and Slade, B. (2018) An inquiry into what organised difficult advance care planning conversations in a Scottish residential care home using institutional ethnography. Journal of Research in Nursing, 23(2-3), pp. 220-236. (doi: 10.1177/1744987118756477)

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Aim: This paper provides an institutional ethnographic analysis of how advance care planning discussions, which included advance decisions about serious illness, hospital admission and Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) forms, were systematically placed into the hands of senior social care workers (SSCWs) in a residential care home (RCH). RCHs are care settings where there are no on-site nurses, and access to hospital and/or community doctors and nurses is limited. Methods: The paper traces the organising features of day-to-day work gathered from interviews with SSCWs (n = 4) and others (n = 6) whose (well-intentioned) work shaped what happened in the RCH. Results: It shows how the experience of SSCWs was socially organised to happen as it did as they (and others) complied with powerful organising texts such as national and local policy documents, care plans and audit forms. The paper concludes that although SSCWs decision-making conversations were out of alignment with the national DNACPR policy, they cannot simply be described as poor practice. This is because they were socially organised by a complex web of institutional practices related to the occupancy rate in the RCH, the inspection process of the care home scrutiny body, the quality assurance process of the RCH company, the funding of palliative care education, and powerful political and fiscal drives to reduce spending on over-75s. These practices had little to do with the actual care needs of RCH residents or the actual support needs of RCH staff. Conclusions: The paper points towards necessary policy changes. It also highlights how ‘competent’ work driven by ideological institutional practices can result in ethically troubling situations in day-to-day working life. This emphasises the importance of carefully examining the social organisation of situations typically described as poor practice if we are to understand how they are (re)produced. It also offers a different account of care home deaths than is typically presented in the professional literature.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Slade, Professor Bonnie
Authors: Reid, L., Kydd, A., and Slade, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:Journal of Research in Nursing
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1744-988X
Published Online:07 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Research in Nursing 23(2-3): 220-236
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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