Elder Organizational Abuse in Long-Term Care Homes

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Elder organizational abuse—harmful situations created or tolerated by organizations responsible for providing care to individuals that compromise the exercise of their rights and freedoms or contribute to the provision of care that is inadequate to their needs, for a variety of reasons related to organizational practices and procedures—is growingly documented. This article aims to identify potential sources of organizational abuse faced by older adults living in long-term care homes (LTCH). This study, conducted in Quebec (Canada), used a phenomenological approach to conduct individual interviews with occupational therapists (n = 23) working in LTCH. Individual semi-structured interviews have been transcribed and analyzed by four co-analysts to identify issues related to organizational abuse. Two main themes and six sub-themes have been identified: (1) lack of resources that causes a (a) difficulty to address the needs of older adults and (2) an inadequate environment that brings (b) a lack of respect for autonomy and human dignity, (c) an insufficient response to basic needs, (d) an overemphasis on safety, and (e) an occupational deprivation, which is prolonged restriction from participation in meaningful activities. These issues can be examined in a broader ecological perspective, where the macrosystemic context strongly influences the choices of LTCH managers and how care procedures are organized. Addressing macroscopic issues is a promising avenue of action to reduce organizational abuse in LTCHs.