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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decommissioning citizenship : the organization of long-term residential care Baumbusch, Jennifer Lyn


Long-term residential care (LTRC) is a complex sociopolitical milieu where people from diverse backgrounds come to live and work together. In recent years health care restructuring has resulted in the closure of facilities; health care policy has narrowed the population that accesses LTRC so that only those who are the most medically and socially complex are admitted; and there has been a transformation of the work force, a workforce that is mainly comprised of Women of Colour and is among the lowest paid in health care. The purpose of this study was to critically examine the organization of care in LTRC within this context. The theoretical perspective guiding the study was informed by postcolonialism, postcolonial feminism, intersectionalities, and Foucaudian epistemology. The method of inquiry for the study was critical ethnography, which allowed for critical analysis of `taken for granted' assumptions in the organization of care. Over a period of ten months, I was immersed in two LTRC facilities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Field work consisted of approximately 218 hours of participant observation. I conducted 51 interviews with administrators, family members, residents, and staff. I reviewed relevant provincial policies and facility-based policies and procedures. I also collected quantitative data related to resident transitions in the health care system (for example, admissions, discharges, and hospital admissions), and staffing levels. Findings from this study were discussed in three key themes. First, a systematic decommissioning of citizenship occurred for residents and staff in this setting. Second, the impact of health care restructuring over the past decade had important consequences for relationships between residents, family, and staff. Third, relational care took place in `stolen' moments that occurred despite heavy workloads. All of these themes were underscored by intra-gender oppression, relations of power, and influenced by discourses of ageism and corporatism, which ultimately played out in day to day interactions between those who live and work there. Recommendations from this study included: addressing the entrenched hierarchies in nursing, further examination of the public-private funding model in LTRC, and the introduction of an independent ombudsperson to ensure consistent, high quality care across the LTRC sector.

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