Evid Based Nurs 5:95 doi:10.1136/ebn.5.3.95
  • Qualitative

Gate keeping and legitimisation were central in the interactions between informal carers of older people and healthcare workers

 QUESTION: What processes are involved in everyday face to face interactions between informal carers of older people and healthcare workers in a hospital setting?




A rehabilitation ward for older people in a community based hospital in the south of England, UK.


19 English speaking carers who attended the ward and 25 healthcare workers. Informal carers were those who provided physical or social care or assistance for another person. Without this help, the recipient would need health, social, or voluntary sector service intervention. Healthcare workers were nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, ambulance personnel, nursing auxiliaries, agency carers, and housekeepers.


A static videotape recorder continuously monitored activity at and around the ward desk. The social interactions and speech of informal carers and healthcare workers were recorded. 1–3 hour recordings were done 2–3 times a week over a period of 3 months (30 recorded interactions). Videotape transcripts recorded the actions and movements of …

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