‘Weighing up risks’: a model of care home staff decision-making about potential resident hospital transfers
care home staff play a crucial role in managing residents’ health and responding to deteriorations. When deciding whether to transfer a resident to hospital, a careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks is required. Previous studies have identified factors that influence staff decision-making, yet few have moved beyond description to produce a conceptual model of the decision-making process.
to develop a conceptual model to describe care home staff’s decision-making when faced with a resident who potentially requires a transfer to the hospital.
data collection occurred in England between May 2018 and November 2019, consisting of 28 semi-structured interviews with 30 members of care home staff across six care home sites and 113 hours of ethnographic observations, documentary analysis and informal conversations (with staff, residents, visiting families, friends and healthcare professionals) at three of these sites.
a conceptual model of care home staff’s decision-making is presented. Except in situations that staff perceived to be urgent enough to require an immediate transfer, resident transfers tended to occur following a series of escalations. Care home staff made complex decisions in which they sought to balance a number of potential benefits and risks to: residents; staff (as decision-makers); social relationships; care home organisations and wider health and social care services.
during transfer decisions, care home staff make complex decisions in which they weigh up several forms of risk. The model presented offers a theoretical basis for interventions to support deteriorating care home residents and the staff responsible for their care.
University of Leicester College of Life Sciences studentship
Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands (ARC EM)
Author affiliationDepartment of Health Sciences, University of Leicester
- VoR (Version of Record)