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The value placed upon the facets that contribute to meaningful leisure by Activity Co-ordinators

Anne Fenech (Lecturer, based at Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

Social Care and Neurodisability

ISSN: 2042-0919

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to establish the value placed on the facets that contribute to a meaningful leisure occupation for the residents of a residential care facility by the staff that care for them.


This was a service evaluation using a self-reported questionnaire, completed by six Activity Co-ordinators from the home of 158 individuals with a wide range of neuropalliative conditions.


The cultural/historical components, the built and social environment, learning, life satisfaction and goal orientation were reported as the least valued facets, which make up a leisure occupation. The staff did, however; value the sense of health and capability, purpose, the feeling of being fully human and the sense of belonging that comes about through leisure. They also valued preventing boredom, opportunities for self-expression, creativity, achievement, and control. Additionally they valued opportunities to gain a clear sense of the rhythm of life, of self-identity, choice of occupation, and engagement in the occupation.

Research limitations/implications

The findings highlight a variance between the perceptions of staff members who deal with the day-to-day leisure opportunities and decisions of the residents, and the literature of occupational science about what makes an occupation meaningful, and therefore is worthy of consideration when planning a leisure occupation.

Practical implications

Personalised care requires consideration of the individual's cultural and historical background, the environment surrounding the occupation, opportunities for social interaction, individual learning, life satisfaction, and goal orientation when organising leisure opportunities. These facets are stressed because the participants undervalued them.


The context of this paper is a subset of individuals with neurological disabilities who experience profound disabilities, and the attitudes of staff to their leisure lifestyle.



Thanks are due to all those residents’ and Activity Co-ordinators who contributed with their time and engagement in the leisure occupations. The author also owe thanks to the Director of Services of the Residential Home studied. Thanks are due to Gail Whiteford and Keith Andrews who together provided such a large inuksuk to lean into. Thanks are due to my supervisors Cecelia Essau, John Rae, Lesley Collier and Peter Coleman.


Fenech, A. (2014), "The value placed upon the facets that contribute to meaningful leisure by Activity Co-ordinators", Social Care and Neurodisability, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 232-244.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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