The social organization of a sedentary life for residents in long-term care
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Worldwide, the literature reports that many residents in long-term care (LTC) homes are sedentary. In Canada, personal support workers (PSWs) provide most of the direct care in LTC homes and could play a key role in promoting activity for residents. The purpose of this institutional ethnographic study was to uncover the social organization of LTC work and to discover how this organization influenced the physical activity of residents. Data were collected in two LTC homes in Ontario, Canada through participant observations with PSWs and interviews with people within and external to the homes. Findings explicate the links between meals, lifts and transfers, and the LTC standards to reveal that physical activity is considered an add-on program in the purview of physiotherapists. Some of the LTC standards which are intended to product good outcomes for residents actually disrupt the work of PSWs making it difficult for them to respond to the physical activity needs of residents. This descriptive ethnographic account is an important first step in trying to find a solution to optimize real activities of daily living into life in LTC.
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