An ethnography study exploring factors that influence social isolation in care home residents living with dementia and hearing loss

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hearing loss and dementia are highly prevalent conditions amongst older adults living in residential care. The consequences of living with these conditions may include social withdrawal and reduced communication opportunities. We sought to examine patterns of communication and interaction in residential care and explore resident, staff, and relative perspectives within two care homes located in Birmingham, UK. This enabled an understanding of how communication environments contributed to social isolation. METHODS: This work used ethnography methodology to explore mechanisms that created and maintained social isolation in older adults living with dementia and hearing loss. A planning and engagement phase took place in four care homes. This was followed by an environmental audit, observations, and interviews. Data generated were analysed using Grounded Theory methods. RESULTS: There were 33 participants (16 residents, 11 care staff, and six relatives) who took part in the observations and interviews. Residents experienced social isolation through lack of meaningful conversation with others and being misunderstood. Additionally, observations of residents' interactions informed the overall findings. A Grounded Theory model was employed to explain the core phenomenon of social isolation. The main contributors were internal and external barriers to communication, and reduced opportunities for meaningful conversation. CONCLUSIONS: There is a wide range of social isolation that care home residents experience. This was not always associated with the severity of hearing loss but rather communication ability. Simple interventions such as staff dining with residents and focussing on improving communication could reduce social isolation within residential care settings.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-023-04296-0
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Audiology
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aged,Anthropology, Cultural,Communication,Dementia/diagnosis,Hearing Loss/diagnosis,Humans,Social Isolation,Ethnography,Hearing,Social isolation,Dementia,Geriatrics and Gerontology
Publication ISSN: 1471-2318
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 07:28
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2023 12:25
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://bmcgeri ... 877-023-04296-0 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-09-25
Accepted Date: 2023-09-08
Authors: Dhanda, Nisha
Pryce, Helen (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5183-6236)

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