Exploring the experiences of domiciliary caregivers simulating the role of care recipients
evidence and practice    

Exploring the experiences of domiciliary caregivers simulating the role of care recipients

Ann Gallagher Professor of ethics and care, International Care Ethics Observatory, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey, England
Matthew Peacock Research fellow, International Care Ethics Observatory, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey, England
Anna Cox Research fellow, International Care Ethics Observatory, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey, England

Why you should read this article
  • To understand how simulating the role of care recipients could enhance the care that domiciliary caregivers provide

  • To be aware of the important elements of ethical care for domiciliary caregivers

  • To enhance your understanding of the importance of the caregiver-care recipient relationship and developing trust

Aim To find out if an immersive simulation intervention would be feasible in a domiciliary care context, and to explore what effect, if any, the intervention would have on the domiciliary caregivers who participated.

Method This was an immersive simulation pilot project in which six domiciliary caregivers (simulants) assumed the profile of people receiving domiciliary care. Second-year and third-year nursing students provided domiciliary care to the simulants, with support from a registered nurse. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes from post-intervention semi-structured interviews and a focus group with the simulants.

Findings Five main themes were identified: recognising the need for stimulation; reflecting on the importance of person-centred communication; the value of companionship and confidence in caregivers; understanding boundaries and vulnerabilities; and empathy and practice changes. Following the intervention, most of the simulants reported that they re-examined the care they provide from the care recipient’s perspective, and were increasingly attuned to the wishes of care recipients.

Conclusion The findings of this pilot project suggest that immersive simulation could be a valuable intervention in the domiciliary care context. The feedback from simulants suggests that it is beneficial to provide domiciliary caregivers with the opportunity to assume the role of care recipients, and enables them to reflect on the complexity and value of the care that they provide. The findings indicate that important elements of ethical care include domiciliary caregivers having adequate time to deliver care and develop trust, which can assist in fostering effective caregiver-care recipient relationships.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11382

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@NursingEthicsJournal

Correspondence

a.gallagher@surrey.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

This project was funded by The Ethox Foundation

Gallagher A, Peacock M, Cox A (2020) Exploring the experiences of domiciliary caregivers simulating the role of care recipients. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11382

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the project participants and the management of a domiciliary care organisation in the south east of England for their collaboration. They are grateful to The Ethox Foundation who funded the project. They also wish to thank Linus Vanlaere, Nele Janssens and colleagues at sTimul, who pioneered the immersive simulation approach and shared their expertise with the authors

Published online: 20 April 2020

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