A comparative study of empowering practices in voluntary and statutory nursing homes for older people in County Cavan
This study sought to make comparisons between the voluntary and statutory services for older people in County Cavan with particular reference to the levels o f understanding and application o f the concept o f empowerment in service provision. The author undertook an extensive review o f literature in relation to empowerment. The origin and various elements o f empowerment were identified. The author identified the varying definitions and interpretations of empowerment from both human resource and social care perspectives. How the concept can be achieved was addressed and examined. The author focused on the psychological factors o f empowerment including the negative cycle o f social breakdown. Strategies to combat and reverse this negative cycle were identified. The author identified the levels o f empowerment which can occur within residential settings and organisations. The author further identified the barriers which may exist within various care setting to militate against the adoption of empowering practices in service provision for older people. The author carried out the study in eight organisations, comprising o f four nursing homes from the voluntary sector and four care facilities from the statutory sector. The author utilised both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies for the study. The knowledge obtained from each organisation identified the level of knowledge and awareness which exists among members o f staff and management who took part in the study. The data from each organisation further identified whether an empowering model o f service provision existed in each organisation and what the main barriers were, as perceived and experienced by staff and management. Strategies to overcome the challenges to empowerment were identified within each organisation. Overall, members o f staff and management who participated in the study were found to have a reasonable level o f competence in terms o f their understanding and practice o f empowerment. This research concludes on quite a positive note for the future o f care services for older people. In addition, a number o f recommendations for future service provision have been identified by the author.
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