Public home care professionals' experiences of being involved in food distribution to home-living elderly people in Sweden - a qualitative study with an action research approach


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Sciedu Press

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Background: Research focusing on Food Distribution (FD) from various professionals’ and organisational perspectives are lacking. The aim of this study was therefore to explore various professionals ’ experiences of involvement in FD in order to get comprehensive understanding of th e organisation, responsibilities and roles. Methods: This qualitative study is a part of a larger project w ith an action research approach focusing on FD in the municipal home service and care for home-living elderly persons in a municipality in southern Sweden. The data was collected through particip atory observations (n=90 occasions and in total 48 0 hours), repeated focus group interviews (n = 4) with different professionals (n =10) involved in the FD process and one individual interview. The material was analysed by qualitative manifest and latent content analysis. Results: The study indicates that Food Distri bution is a fragmentary intervention where a comprehensive perspective and clear roles of responsibility are lacking. The FD organisation seemed to be strictly divided and limited by constraints regarding time and money. The fragmented organisation led partly to staff only taking responsibility for their part of the chain and no one having the full picture of and responsibility for the FD process, but also to some professionals taking more responsibility than they were supposed to. Conclusions: The aim of the study was met by using an action research approach. The study was however limited by that no home help officers were represented. The FD appeared as an extremely complex chain of different but connected activities. It is not merely the distributi on of a product, i.e. the meal box. The fr agmentation of FD means that staff only takes responsibility for their part of the chain, and that no one has the full picture of or responsibility for the FD process. Consequently, there is a need for an outline of responsibilities. The findings have implications for nursing, gerontology, and in the care for the elderly.




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