An enquiry into the delivery of personal care to physically dependent adults in residential homes and day centres: from the person’s perspective

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Moran, Noreen
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BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Background: People with disabilities represent 10% of the world's population. Of these an unknown number are physically dependent on others to have their basic needs met. The author sought to explore; how staff are experienced, the concerns, preferences and anxieties that may exist in relation to the delivery of personal care to physically dependent adults in day centres and residential homes, from the person’s perspective. The study also sought to determine if these concerns and anxieties differed with context, level of disability I with congenital or acquired disability of with ability to communicate. Methods: Forty-eight physically dependent adults were randomly selected from seven day centres and six residential homes. Participants were invited to complete three questionnaires and partake in a structured interview. The questionnaires and structured interview aimed to evaluate trait anxiety, anxieties in relation to care, and to elicit information on concerns and preferences in relation to the delivery of care. Results: The presence of anxiety in physically dependent adults in relation to the delivery of personal care was confirmed. Trait anxiety was not found. There was no significant difference in context, or between persons with congenital or acquired disability. However participants who were dependent in all activities of daily living and participants who used communication aids had higher levels of anxiety.860/0 of respondents experienced staff as being patient and caring. 31% experienced being told off and 54% felt more comfortable when the manager was on the premises. Discussion: A significant proportion of physically dependent adults experience anxiety in relation to the delivery of their personal care, especially feeding and toileting. For many their experience of staff is less than satisfactory. The content and suitability of staff training and supervision must be questioned. Management structures in day centres and residential homes require review.