Standardised functional assessment in long-term care for older people: perspective of Finnish care workers

Authors

  • Vilhelmiina Lehto-Niskala Tampere University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5953-2576
  • Outi Jolanki University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University
  • Jaakko Valvanne Tampere University
  • Marja Jylhä Tampere University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7577/njsr.3734

Keywords:

Functional assessment, Long-term care, Policy, Aged, Nursing care, Residential facilities

Abstract

Objective measures and documentation are increasingly used in the care for older people to promote efficiency and productivity. A standardised assessment of functional capacity is one such measure. In this study, we examined the meanings given to standardised functional assessment by care workers who provide long-term care for older people. Gathered from eight Finnish long-term care facilities, the data consisted of one-on-one interviews with practical and registered nurses (n = 24). In the data analysis, we employed the discursive approach. We identified three discourses in the care workers’ talks that differed in the meaning given to standardised functional assessment in the process of care: part of the bureaucracy, a missed opportunity and a threat to person-centred care. Care workers described these assessments as constituting a routine part of their job but expressed uncertainty about their role and the practical
benefits in actual care work. They even called into question these assessments’ relevance to quality care delivery. To be a meaningful part of care practice, it is essential that there be a shared understanding of the rationale behind functional assessments in the care organisation and that care workers themselves can see the outcomes of these assessments in their daily work.

Author Biographies

Vilhelmiina Lehto-Niskala, Tampere University

Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland, and

Gerontology Research Center (GEREC), University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University, Finland

Outi Jolanki, University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University

Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland,

Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and

Gerontology Research Center (GEREC), University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University, Finland

Jaakko Valvanne, Tampere University

Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Tampere University, Finland, and

Gerontology Research Center (GEREC), University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University, Finland

Marja Jylhä, Tampere University

Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland, and

Gerontology Research Center (GEREC), University of Jyväskylä and Tampere University, Finland

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Published

2021-01-31

How to Cite

Lehto-Niskala, V., Jolanki, O., Valvanne, J., & Jylhä, M. (2021). Standardised functional assessment in long-term care for older people: perspective of Finnish care workers. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 12(1), 27–47. https://doi.org/10.7577/njsr.3734

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