CARERS’ EXPERIENCES OF 24-HOUR POSTURAL MANAGEMENT: A QUALITATIVE EXPLORATION
24-hour postural management (24-hr PM) incorporates all activities and interventions that impact an individual’s posture and function over a 24-hour period (Gericke 2006). Due to the cyclical and long-term nature of 24-hr PM, carers are an integral part of delivering the intervention. As a part of a larger project to evaluate the current 24-hr PM provision within Edinburgh, this current qualitative investigation aimed to investigate carer experiences of 24- hr PM. Six semi-structured interviews were carried out with four formal carers and two informal carers of adult service users currently receiving 24-hr PM within the City of Edinburgh council. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was utilised in the analysis of the interviews. From the analysis, emerged 11 themes and 12 subthemes in total. From these themes three distinct clusters were discovered each providing a theoretical framework relating to 24-hr PM. The first set of themes highlighted that in order for successful and holistic 24-hr PM to sustain, several environmental and structural factors have to be in place. The second set of themes elucidated the fluidity of aspects impacting 24-hr PM and its outcome, and highlighted the requirement for a dynamic approach to 24-hr PM provision. The third group of themes revealed the sensitivity and interconnectedness of the carer and service user contact within the context of 24-hr PM. These findings indicate that in planning 24-hr PM provision, awareness of several complex societal, cultural, environmental and personal factors must be considered. A service that takes into account the carer’s knowledge and experience as well as the shortcomings of the current structures that care is provided in, is necessary. Supported by concepts from post-modern theory, these findings suggest that qualitative research designs are valuable in uncovering the complexity and highly contextual nature of 24-hr PM.