The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the meal context and the food offering in Quebec public nursing homes for non-autonomous seniors, particularly with respect to first-generation immigrants.
A focused ethnography approach was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three distinct groups: non-Quebec-born residents (n=26), their families (n=24) and frontline care staff (n=51). Structured non-participative observations were made in facilities.
First-generation immigrants, however, long ago they arrived in Quebec, adapted with difficulty and often not at all to the food offering. Resident’s appetite for food offer was a problem for reasons related primarily to food quality, mealtime schedules, medication intake, physical and mental condition, and adaptation to institutional life. Family/friends often brought in food. Care staff tasks were becoming increasingly tedious and routinized, impacting quality of care.
Institutions should render procedures and processes more flexible and adapt their food offering to the growing diversity of their client groups. For residents, the meal experience is profoundly transformed in nursing homes in terms of form, conditions, rituals and meaning. A better understanding of lived situations shaped by a more refined cultural sensitivity would go a long way toward achieving a better quality of life not only for residents but also for their families and friends. Care aides, on whose shoulders rests the responsibility of ensuring that meals are safe and pleasant moments for socializing and maintaining social dispositions, are ambivalent about their work.
The paper is based on an original study. To the authors’ knowledge, the literature on the meal context and food offering in Quebec public nursing homes, regardless of population type, was non-existent. Analyzing and interpreting the results by crossing the discourses of immigrant residents, their family and friends, and frontline care staff made it possible to reveal different aspects of the phenomenon, which, if considered together, shed light on the meal context in public nursing homes.
The authors deeply thank Le Centre d’Expertise de l’ITHQ for its financial support throughout the research from field work to translation of the final version and for making all this possible. The authors also thank Paolo Di Biase for his careful translation.
Girard, A. and El Mabchour, A. (2019), "Meal context and food offering in Quebec public nursing homes: the perspectives of first-generation immigrant residents, family members, and frontline care aides", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 226-246. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-02-2019-0015Download as .RIS
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