Making Neglect Invisible: A Qualitative Study among Nursing Home Staff in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Research shows that nursing home residents’ basic care needs are often neglected, potentially resulting in incidents that threaten patients’ safety and quality of care. Nursing staff are at the frontline for identifying such care practices but may also be at the root of the problem. The aim of this study was to generate new knowledge on reporting instances of neglect in nursing homes based on the research question “How is neglect reported and communicated by nursing home staff?” Methods: A qualitative design guided by the principles of constructivist grounded theory was used. The study was based on five focus-group discussions (20 participants) and 10 individual interviews with nursing staff from 17 nursing homes in Norway. Results: Neglect in nursing homes is sometimes invisible due to a combination of personal and organizational factors. Staff may minimize “missed care” and not consider it neglect, so it is not reported. In addition, they may be reluctant to acknowledge or reveal their own or colleagues’ neglectful practices. Conclusion: Neglect of residents in nursing homes may continue to occur if nursing staff’s reporting practices are making neglect invisible, thus proceeding to compromise a resident’s safety and quality of care for the foreseeable future.