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Violence in nursing homes: perceptions of female caregivers


  • Ulf Isaksson BSc, MHN,

  • Sture Åström PhD, RNT,

  • Ulla Hällgren Graneheim PhD, RNT

Ulf Isaksson
Department of Nursing Umeå University SE-901 87 Umeå Sweden
Telephone: +46 90 786 91 86


Aim.  This study illuminates how female caregivers in nursing home perceive violence.

Background.  Previous studies have focused on prevalence and types of violence and injuries in various settings and among various professionals. There are, however, few studies that examine how caregivers perceive violence.

Methods.  Forty-one female caregivers at nursing homes were asked to reflect on a vignette containing a situation where a female caregiver is exposed to violence from a male resident. The reflections were analysed by qualitative content analysis.

Findings.  The main finding indicates that perceiving an action as violent is in the eye of the beholder. Caregivers perceive violence to be challenging, intentional, excusable, ordinary and contextual relative to their own experience and attitudes.

Conclusion and relevance to clinical practice.  As the perception of violence is subjective, there is a risk that violent incidents will be under-reported as well as over-reported. To avoid this, it is important to construct a well-defined operationalised definition of violence for research purposes. Our findings also indicate the need for individually structured and adjusted support for caregivers. To explore the complexity of violence, further research should focus on how caregivers and residents experience violence in a nursing home.

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