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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"It's a do-it-yourself hospital" : the experiences of older persons who have been hospitalized without family involvement Baker, Nancy Ramona


The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain an understanding of the experiences of older persons who have been hospitalized without family involvement. A total of five men and women participated in in-depth interviews about their experiences. The principles of hermeneutic phenomenology and narrative analysis were used to tease out the major themes of the participants' experiences . A structural social work lens shed light on how the participants' hospital experiences were shaped by broader structural issues. Both formal and informal support were important factors for these older persons who did not have family support. The roles of hospital social workers, and volunteers were explored. Older persons who have had personal losses including physical decline, and loss of support systems, may feel powerless in a hospital setting. Empowermentoriented social work practice can be used with seniors to help them link personal problems to socio-political issues. Implications for social work practice and policy are discussed. The limitations of this study and avenues for future research are presented.

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