This thesis explores family caregiver concerns and experiences around resident-to-resident aggression (RRA) in long-term residential care (LTRC). Canadian media reports spanning a ten-year period (2007-2017) about RRA (n= 64) were analyzed with a critical discourse lens to examine the representation of family members. Also, family caregivers of residents in LTRC from two British Columbia health regions (n= 8) were interviewed about the influence of RRA media reports on perception of safety for themselves and their relatives in LTRC, and their broader caregiving experiences. Family caregivers viewed media reports on RRA as sensational, contributing to the stigma of dementia, and lacking context, but they did not impact the family caregivers’ sense of safety. Instead, the lack of access to empowerment structures (i.e. informal power, formal power, information, support, and education) and the ambiguous position of family within the hierarchical power structure of LTRC negatively influenced their caregiving experiences. Findings suggest a need for systemic change to increase family empowerment and role clarity with respect to prevention and management of RRA.
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Thesis advisor: Sixsmith, Andrew
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