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Normalization of Neglect: A Grounded Theory of RNs’ Experiences as Family Caregivers of Hospitalized Seniors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2016

Tarnia Taverner*
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia
Jennifer Baumbusch
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia
Priscilla Taipale
St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver
*La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Dr. Tarnia Taverner, Ph.D., MSc, RN Clinical Associate Professor, School of Nursing University of British Columbia T201-2211 Wesbrook Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5 (


Often older people, while maintaining a level of independence, rely on family members to provide care and assistance. Caregivers who are also registered nurses (RNs) may provide a different perspective around the experience when their older relative is admitted to acute care. The aim of our research was to investigate and develop theory regarding nursing care provision as described by RNs, who were family caregivers to older adults, when that older adult was admitted to acute care. Over a six-month period in 2011, RNs meeting this criterion (n = 12) were interviewed individually. We identified two central categories: “Culture of Neglect” and “Vigil by the Bedside”. The core category “Normalization of Neglect” was identified as the theory, grounded in the data the participants provided which described a culture of neglect that had normalized poor nursing care. These findings highlight the issue of neglect and abuse, and further investigation is warranted.


Souvent le personnes plus âgées, tout en maintenant un certain niveau d’indépendance, comptent sur les membres de leur famille de fournir des soins et de l’assistance. Les aidants naturels qui sont aussi des infirmières autorisées (IA) peuvent fournir une perspective différente de ce qui est vécu quand leur parent âgé est admis aux soins aigus. Le but de notre recherche était d’étudier et de développer une théorie relative à la prestation de soins infirmiers, comme décrit par les IA, qui étaient les aidants naturels pour les adultes plus âgés, lorsque cette personne âgée a été admis aux soins actifs. Pendant une période de six mois en 2011, les infirmières autorisées qui ont satisfait ce critère (n = 12) ont été interrogées individuellement. Nous avons identifié deux categories centrales: “Culture de la negligence” et “Veille par le chevet.” La catégorie de base “de la Normalisation de la Négligence» a été identifié comme la théorie, fondée sur les données que les participants ont fournies qui décrivaient une culture de la négligence qui a normalisé les soins infirmiers de qualité inférieure. Ces résultats mettent en évidence la question de la négligence et de l’abus, et une enquête plus approfondie est justifiée.

Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2016 

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