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Title: 'Freedom from and freedom to' : an ethnography of life in care homes in Iraqi Kurdistan
Author: M-Amen, Karwan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 152X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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Background: Little is known about the lives of older people who live in Kurdish care homes and very little also about the staff who work within such settings. In addition, there is limited literature exploring any aspects of life in care homes in Iraq in general and Iraqi-Kurdistan care homes in particular. Much of what is known about care home is derived from Western experiences and is based on notions of care in the developed world. Aims: The study aimed to explore daily life for older people and staff within two care homes in Kurdistan. This included the nature of activities, relationships and the degree to which people engaged in decision making. Furthermore, older peoples' experiences of admission into care was also explored. Design and Methods: A qualitative design was adopted using an ethnographic approach. The study sought to undertake data collection with both residents and staff using in-depth interviews with 28 participants (15 residents and 13 staff members). In both homes, approximately 140 hours of participant observation were undertaken. These approaches were augmented by using observations, fieldnotes and documentary analysis. Findings: The ethnographic study identified that the two care homes in the study each had very different cultures. Of these one was termed 'relational' and the other 'organisational'. These two cultures were characterised on the basis of values, policies, level of shared decision making and engagement with the older people and staff within them. Furthermore, admission for all residents were broadly similar as most participants had a very limited role in the choice made about their admission. Residents' perception of admission influenced their initial reaction to the home, with some 'engaging' with the home quickly whilst others remained somewhat 'distant' from it. The subsequent analysis suggested a 'typology' of residents who held differing perspectives of life in the care home and these were termed as 'Embracers', 'Tolerators' and 'Isolates'. There were differences in the ways the two homes operated, attributable to the differing leadership styles within each of the homes. Daily life was characterised by the degree to which residents and staff felt that they had 'Freedom From' unhelpful aspects of their lives and 'Freedom To' express choice, continuity and build relationships. The culture of the homes largely determined these experiences. Conclusions: The study makes an important contribution to knowledge in that it is the first ever of its type conducted in a Kurdish context. The differing cultures identified within each of the care homes determined the experiences of both older residents and staff. Furthermore, leadership and management styles played an important role in contributing to such cultures. Despite a decision not to impose Western notions of care when carrying out this research it is apparent that Kurdish care homes have a lot in common with those already noted within the literature. One of the key implications of the study is the notions of 'Freedom From' and 'Freedom To' which may have the potential to become a useful heuristic device which may be used to help innovate and evaluate care home practices, not just in the Kurdish region but also elsewhere.
Supervisor: Ryan, Tony ; Nolan, Mike Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available