Reciprocity in UK Care Home Staff Members
Cornell Jackson, Carl Thompson, Karen Spilsbury, Kirsty Haunch, Anna Cronin de ChavezWe are researching the relationship between quality of care and staffing in UK care homes. Quality in care homes is coming under increasing scrutiny in the UK. The quality of care and life experienced by care home residents is influenced by the staff delivering and managing that care. A realist review of the literature highlighted the importance of reciprocity among staff members: the higher the level of reciprocity among the staff, the better the quality of care given. So, is this implication empirically true?
In order to answer this question, part of the study concentrated on uncovering networks of staff members. In this ongoing research, a sample of UK care homes were selected including small, medium and large sized homes. The surveys were distributed to both staff and managers of the home. The staff were asked three questions: Who influences you on quality of care? Who do you influence on quality of care? Who do you seek advice from on quality of care? Two networks were created from the data collected (1 x influence and 1 x advice seeking). We then measured the percentage and nature of reciprocal ties in each care home. We also asked the questions of the management structure of the large and medium care home chains to look at reciprocal ties among the teams. Data is currently being analysed.
There is no universally agreed and reliable indicator of quality of care in care homes. In order to understand the nature of quality of care in homes we are using a range of qualitative observational and interview data in selected case sites. The results presented will test the theoretical implication that increased network reciprocity leads to better quality care homes.