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Dignity, well-being and identity: A qualitative study of older people's interpretations of how healthcare workers speak to them

Draper, Peter; Hilton, Andrea

Authors

Peter Draper

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Dr Andrea Hilton A.Hilton@hull.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer and Programme director, Non-Medical Prescribing



Abstract

© RCN Publishing Company Limited 2021. Background The initial interaction between an older person and a nurse, and how the older person interprets this interaction, is important and sometimes overlooked. Evidence suggests that the way healthcare workers speak to older people can negatively affect older people's well-being. Aim To interview community-dwelling older people aged =65 years who had recently held a conversation with a healthcare worker and to understand the meanings older people attributed to these conversations. Method Ten community-dwelling older people were recruited and interviewed. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis was informed by narrative methods. Findings Participants freely and readily interpreted their conversations with healthcare workers in terms of the values and attitudes conveyed. Their preferences for forms of address ranged from formal to informal. They were sensitive to a range of contextual factors shaping the use of language. While they were generally tolerant of forms of address that did not match their personal preferences, some inferred disrespect from the unthinking use of first names and some resented assumptions being made based on age. Conclusion Nurses are encouraged to be skilful and sensitive when speaking to older people. It is advisable to follow older people's preferences regarding forms of address, as these are important markers of dignity and respect.

Citation

Draper, P., & Hilton, A. (2021). Dignity, well-being and identity: A qualitative study of older people's interpretations of how healthcare workers speak to them. Nursing older people, 33(1), https://doi.org/10.7748/NOP.2020.E1261

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date May 5, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 16, 2020
Publication Date Feb 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 27, 2020
Journal Nursing Older People
Print ISSN 1472-0795
Electronic ISSN 2047-8941
Publisher RCN Publishing (RCNi)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 1
DOI https://doi.org/10.7748/NOP.2020.E1261
Keywords Gerontology
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/3619140