Understanding and preventing situations of abuse in health care ñ Navigation work in a Swedish palliative care setting

In their everyday work, health professionals find themselves in situations that they perceive to be abusive to patients. Such situations can trigger feelings of shame and guilt, making efforts to address the problem among colleagues a challenge. This article analyzes how health professionals conceptualize abusive situations, and how they develop collective learning and explore preventive strategies. It is based on an interactive research collaboration with a hospice and palliative care clinic in Sweden during 2016-2017. The empirical material consists of group discussions and participant observations collected during interactive drama workshops for all clinic staff. Based on three types of challenges in the material, identified through thematic analysis, we establish the concept of navigation work to show how health professionals prevent or find ways out of challenging and potentially abusive situations. First, the navigation of care landscapes shows how staff navigate the different territories of the home and the ward, reflecting how spatial settings construct the scope of care and what professionals consider to be potentially abusive situations. Second, the negotiation of collective navigations addresses the professionals’ shared efforts to protect patients through the use of physical and relational boundaries, or mediating disrupted relationships. Third, the navigation of tensions in care highlights professionals’ strategies in the confined action space between coercing and neglecting patients who oppose necessary care procedures. Theoretically, the concept of navigation work draws upon work on care in practice, and sheds light on the particular kind of work care professionals do, and reflect on doing, in order to navigate the challenges of potentially abusive situations. By providing a perspective and shared vocabulary, the concept may also elicit ways in which this work can be verbalized, shared, and developed in clinical practice. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

In their everyday work, health professionals find themselves in situations that they perceive to be abusive to patients. Such situations can trigger feelings of shame and guilt, making efforts to address the problem among colleagues a challenge. This article analyzes how health professionals conceptualize abusive situations, and how they develop collective learning and explore preventive strategies. It is based on an interactive research collaboration with a hospice and palliative care clinic in Sweden during 2016-2017. The empirical material consists of group discussions and participant observations collected during interactive drama workshops for all clinic staff. Based on three types of challenges in the material, identified through thematic analysis, we establish the concept of navigation work to show how health professionals prevent or find ways out of challenging and potentially abusive situations. First, the navigation of care landscapes shows how staff navigate the different territories of the home and the ward, reflecting how spatial settings construct the scope of care and what professionals consider to be potentially abusive situations. Second, the negotiation of collective navigations addresses the professionals’ shared efforts to protect patients through the use of physical and relational boundaries, or mediating disrupted relationships. Third, the navigation of tensions in care highlights professionals’ strategies in the confined action space between coercing and neglecting patients who oppose necessary care procedures. Theoretically, the concept of navigation work draws upon work on care in practice, and sheds light on the particular kind of work care professionals do, and reflect on doing, in order to navigate the challenges of potentially abusive situations. By providing a perspective and shared vocabulary, the concept may also elicit ways in which this work can be verbalized, shared, and developed in clinical practice. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

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