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Online representations of nursing-home life in Sweden: perspectives from staff on content, purpose and audience

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: The article is based on a study of how social media and other types of online representations of nursing homes are described by staff. The study proceeds from a qualitative thematic analysis of 14 interviews with nursing-home representatives. The article addresses a key finding that was apparent in the interviews: the online representations’ form and content were adjusted to fit the demands of residents’ relatives. Given the peripheral role attributed to relatives in official Swedish eldercare policies, the motives for the online representations are systematically examined. Two motives are found to be central: marketing and assurance. Residents’ relatives, specified as adult children, were perceived pre-admission as customers in charge of the process of choice and placement; post-admission, relatives requested proof that social activities were provided for their parents. The article discusses how online representations strategically construct a version of ‘reality’ by adjusting to relatives’ unrealistic expectations, only showing residents as involved in social activities. Finally, the need to examine the actual role of relatives in Swedish eldercare is discussed.

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