"Such Trivial Matters:" How staff account for restrictions of residents' influence in nursing homes
Summary, in English
National policies emphasize older people's right to autonomy, yet nursing home residents often have restricted opportunities to make decisions about everyday matters. We use qualitative interview data to analyze staff members' explanations of actions that conflict with both social norms and national policies. Two types of problematic actions are discussed: restrictions of elderly residents' influence in decision making and neglect of residents' complaints. While staff members describe residents' influence as desirable, they simultaneously formulate accounts that justify their inability to live up to this ideal. Further, we demonstrate how certain complaints are "made trivial" when they are described and treated in specific ways by the staff. We argue that the accounts offered by staff members draw on an implicit folk logic, a logic in which residents are allowed to exercise influence only as long as it does not conflict with the efficient running of the institution as a whole. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.