Structure and agency attributes of residents’ use of dining space during mealtimes in care homes for older people

Maluf, Adriano, Cheater, Francine, Poland, Fiona and Arthur, Antony (2020) Structure and agency attributes of residents’ use of dining space during mealtimes in care homes for older people. Health & Social Care in the Community, 28 (6). pp. 2125-2133. ISSN 0966-0410

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Research stresses that mealtimes in care homes for older people are vital social events in residents’ lives. Mealtimes have great importance for residents as they provide a sense of normality, reinforce individuals’ identities and orientate their routines. This ethnographic study aimed to understand residents’ use of dining spaces during mealtimes, specifically examining residents’ table assignment processes. Data were collected in summer 2015 in three care homes located in England. The research settings looked after residents aged 65+, each having a distinct profile: a nursing home, a residential home for older people and a residential home for those with advanced dementia. Analyses revealed a two-stage table assignment process: 1. Allocation – where staff exert control by determining residents’ seating. Allocation is inherently part of the care provided by the homes and reflects the structural element of living in an institution. This study identified three strategies for allocation adopted by the staff: (a) personal compatibilities; (b) according to gender and (c) ‘continual allocation’. 2. Appropriation – it consists of residents routinely and willingly occupying the same space in the dining room. Appropriation helps residents to create and maintain their daily routines and it is an expression of their agency. The findings demonstrate the mechanisms of residents’ table assignment and its importance for their routines, contributing towards a potentially more self-fulfilling life. These findings have implications for policy and care practices in residential and nursing homes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agency,care homes,dining spaces,mealtimes,older people,table assignment,social sciences (miscellaneous),sociology and political science,health policy,public health, environmental and occupational health,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3301
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 00:11
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 13:59
DOI: 10.1111/hsc.13023

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