Older people and their care partners' experiences of living with mental health needs: A focus on collaboration and cooperation
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McCormack, B. & Skatvedt, A. (2016) Older people and their care partners' experiences of living with mental health needs: A focus on collaboration and cooperation, Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 26, , pp. 103-114,
Aim To explore how older people living at home with mental health needs and their care partners experienced the practices of collaboration within and between services. Background Many health care strategies for community mental health services for older people espouse a person-centred approach or principles that are similar in focus. Design This paper reports on the first stage of a 3-year action research project that focused on improving mental health services for older people and their care partners living at home. Data were collected through individual interviews. Twenty people were interviewed. Data were analysed continuously and in parallel with data collection for the identification of themes. Results We focus on two particular themes, 'acknowledgement, recognition and respect' and 'the prestige hierarchy of mental illness in older people'. We highlight how older people and their care partners experience discontinuities in their everyday interactions with nurses and care workers and that this impacts on their experience of person-centred care. Conclusions Older people with mental health needs and their care partners need high levels of energy to express their needs and have them met in a way that reflects principles of partnership working. Implications for Practice: Nurses and care workers need to consider how 'tasks' can be used as a vehicle for creating emotional connections with service users. Service managers and leaders need to consider the implications of discontinuities in care on service user, care partner, nurses and care workers experiences.