Coming to Terms with the Limitations of the Self: Families Choosing a Nursing Home for a Loved One

By Mel Duffy and Eileen Courtney.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2015 $US5.00

The paper explores the experiences of Irish families as they come to the final realisation that there are limits to the care they can provide for their older relatives at home. The painful, but inevitable consequence of this insight was the surrendering of their loved one to a nursing home. Up to this point families and their older relative had developed what Draucker (1999, 361) calls “everyday skillful coping”: patterns of actions, reactions and behaviour which facilitated their existence in the context in which they found themselves. However, these taken for granted ways of understanding of being in the world are severely challenged when a family member is placed in a nursing home. Hermeneutic phenomenology was employed as the epistemological and methodological framework for the study. Family members were constructed in the research as active participants in the world, creating understanding and meaning to their experiences. All participants had a family member who died in a nursing home within the 12 months prior to the commencement of data collection. Data was gathered data through one-to-one interviews. Participants described the exceptional lengths they went to, and the extraordinary challenges they encountered, in their attempt to maintain their loved one at home. Despite the certain knowledge that they could no longer manage the situation the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home was a difficult one and finding a suitable nursing home was challenging.

Keywords: Care, Nursing Home, Hermeneutic Phenomenology

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.39-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 369.369KB)).

Dr. Mel Duffy

Lecturer, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Eileen Courtney

Lecturer, School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland