'Wet' care homes for older people with refractory alcohol problems: a qualitative study
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
Subjectsnon abstinence care homes
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBackground This study describes a registered care home in England and a registered nursing home in Norway which provide permanent care for alcohol-dependent older people who are unable or unwilling to stop drinking and cannot maintain an adequate standard of self-care and/or live independently. Prior to admission, most residents have been living unsafely in their own home or were homeless. They have high levels of contact with health, social and criminal justice services and complex needs as a result of mental illness, poor physical health and physical disabilities. Most have lost contact with their families. The aim is to stabilise drinking, physical and mental health and improve quality of life. The homes are based on a harm reduction philosophy, that is, they focus on strategies to reduce harm from high-risk alcohol use, rather than insisting on abstinence. Residents can drink as much alcohol as they want on the premises but staff encourage them to drink less and in a less harmful way (e.g. spreading drinking throughout the day and having ‘dry’ days). Method We carried out interviews and focus groups with staff and residents, observed verbal exchanges, experiences and routines in communal areas, took field notes during staff rounds and analysed documents such as care plans for individual residents. Key findings • Most residents’ drinking, physical and mental health stabilises and their use of health, social and criminal justice services reduces following admission. • This is achieved by encouraging less harmful drinking, providing on-site health care, assistance with medication and self-care and provision of nutritious meals and social activities. • Wet care homes are viewed by some residents as a safe refuge which has improved their quality of life. • Other residents are frustrated by a lack of personal autonomy. • Suitable outcomes include improved hygiene and nutrition, increased self-esteem, better compliance with healthcare, healthier living which is not entirely alcohol focused and more hope for the future. • Homes should have processes in place to collect quantitative measures which provide clear evidence of impact.
CitationAlcohol Research UK (2017) ''Wet' care homes for older people with refractory alcohol problems: a qualitative study'. London: Alcohol Research UK.
PublisherAlcohol Research UK
Series/Report no.Alcohol Insight Number 143
The following license files are associated with this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/