Against all odds: quality of care in a national centre for elderly deaf people in The Netherlands
(Unversity of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
This paper reports the first results of ethnographic research on the subjective experience of quality of care by the inhabitants of a unique centre for elderly Deaf people in The Netherlands. Against the national trends, the centre with its special care arrangements is steadily growing.
Paper long abstract:
In The Netherlands special facilities for care of the elderly are rapidly disappearing. Decentralisation of services and transfer of care tasks to family members have to compensate shrinking budgets. Against this tide, the country's national centre for elderly Deaf people 'De Gelderhorst', is growing. A waiting list shows the willingness of deaf elderly to move from their familiar environment to this centre and abandon local social networks, even though De Gelderhorst is located in a town without connections to deaf schools or deaf clubhouses. However, the centre offers special care arrangements in sections for independent living, care and nursing: Dutch Sign Language is 'house language', there are deaf staff members and technologies tuned for deaf people. The building has been designed for deaf inhabitants.
It is the centre's mission to not only contribute to the wellbeing of it's inhabitants through high quality care and service, but also to strengthen the position of the elderly Deaf. Underlying this mission is the idea that deaf people an emancipating group with it's own language and culture.
How do these ideas and provisions inform notions of good care? How do they shape practices of everyday life in the centre? And how do the deaf elderly perceive the quality of such care arrangements? What is the meaning of language, carers, other 'carees', technology, architecture in their experience of wellbeing? In this paper the first results of ethnographic research on the subjective experience of quality of care by the inhabitants if De Gelderhorst will be presented
Collaboration and intimacy in the politics of care work