From familiar faces to family: staff and resident relationships in long-term care

Sarah L Canham, Lupin Battersby, Mei Lan Fang, Judith Sixsmith, Ryan Woolrych, Andrew Sixsmith

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Objective: Long-term care (LTC) facilities are increasingly intent on creating a “homelike” atmosphere for residents. Although residential staff are integral to the construction of a home within LTC settings, their perceptions have been relatively absent from the literature. Method: Thirty-two LTC staff participants were interviewed about their experiences and perceptions of the physical environment and conceptualizations of home, and thematic analyses were conducted. Results: An overarching category—interpersonal relationships—emerged from our analyses emphasizing the importance of relationships in creating a homelike environment within institutional settings. Sub-themes that inform our understanding include the following: (a) Staff members’ perceptions of home; (b) “Their second home”: Adjustment to and familiarity in LTC; and (c) “We become family”: Relationality makes a home. Discussion: The study provides evidence to inform current policies and practices in LTC. Specifically, enough time and space should be given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-857
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number5
Early online date22 Apr 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2016


  • Caregiving
  • interpersonal relationships
  • nursing homes
  • gerontology


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