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Keywords:

  • care-giving;
  • communication;
  • community health nursing;
  • ethnography;
  • health care;
  • nursing homecare;
  • place

Currently, much of the western world is experiencing a shift in the places where care is provided, namely from institutional settings like hospitals to diverse community settings such as the home. However, little is known about how language and the physical and social aspects of place interact to influence how health-care is delivered and experienced in the home environment. Drawing on ethnographic participant observations of homecare nursing visits and semi-structured interviews with Canadian family caregivers, care recipients and nurses, the intersection of language, place and health-care was explored in this secondary analysis. Our findings reveal four themes: homecare nurses view themselves as ‘guests’; home environments facilitate the development of nurse–client relationships; nurses adapt healthcare language to each home environment; and storytelling and illness narratives largely prevail during medical interactions in the home. These findings demonstrate the spatiality of language and how the home environment informs decisions regarding language use. Furthermore, these findings exemplify how language and place mutually influence the experiences and delivery of home health-care. We conclude by discussing the importance of considering the language–place–healthcare intersection in order to gain a better understanding of medical exchanges in places and the associated implications for optimizing best nursing practice.