Assisting Independent Seniors with Morning Care: how care workers and seniors negotiate physical cooperation through multimodal interaction

Agnes Maria Engbersen


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    This dissertation reports two studies into the interactional conduct of care workers and seniors in institutional morning care. The first study focuses on natural data of the communication between care workers and seniors during care activities, investigated from a multimodal conversation-analytical perspective. Two phenomena were analyzed in detail: the distinctively shaped progression requests prompting the senior to perform a movement and the specific use of the particle nou during transitions between activities.
    The analyses revealed how care workers and seniors use these practices to organize and co-ordinate their interactional conduct. In the complex interweaving of verbal and physical actions during these transitions, a number of interactional multimodal patterns were identified; the orientation towards the senior's autonomy seems to be their underlying organizational principle.

    The second study is a discourse analysis of three policy documents about Dutch senior care – wherein attention to the senior’s autonomy is a key principle. The texts were analyzed with regard to the articulation of views on how care worker and senior are expected to interact and relate to each other during care activities.
    Remarkably, the policy documents hardly refer to the physical nature of care interactions and suggest that attention to the autonomy of the senior is only practiced in (thematic) conversational activities. This outcome indicates that knowledge about interpersonal communication in (senior) care is limited, in particular about the interactional course of care routines. The findings of the first interactional study provide a nuanced understanding of interventions during care activities, relevant to the education of care workers.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Koole, A.J., Supervisor, Externe Persoon
    • de Glopper, Kees, Supervisor
    • Berenst, Jan, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning24-mrt.-2022
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    StatusPublished - 2022


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