Department of Sociology

Communication in consultations with elder persons and care professionals

A matter of professional and institutional culture 

Primary investigatorUlla Hellström Muhli

Participating researchers:

Ulla Hellström Muhli, Associate Professor of Sociology, Uppsala University, Sweden;

Barry Saferstein, Professor of Communication, California State University San Marcos, USA, PhD, Cognitive Sociology. Professor Saferstein (will throughout 2016 work in the project as a guest professor at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University).

Eleni Siouta, Lecturer at the Division of Nursing, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. PhD, candidate in Caring science, at Karolinska institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Funding: Professor Barry Saferstein’s participation in the project is supported by a research sabbatical awarded by California State University San Marcos - specifically to apply and expand his recent research on the interactional components of patients’ understandings of medical information during clinical consultations, as well as to implement his methodological approach to video analysis in order to study elder care consultations.

Eleni Siouta’s participation as post doc is supported by a scholarship from the National Society for Aging Research.

Project Description: The project concerns consultations in elder care contexts in order to problematize the standards of professional communication and efficiency of consultative meetings between elder persons and care professionals. The main concern is how the communication patterns that constitute professional culture in elder care consultations affect clients’ meaning-making opportunities, standards of contentment, understanding of information, and medical treatment decisions - factors that are important to their healthcare and wellbeing. More precisely, the research examines how the components of consultation interactions mobilize the resources and constraints of professional culture, and shape elderly clients’ meaning-making and understanding of elder care information.

The project's specific objectives are to analyze: (i) How particular communication patterns between care professionals and elderly clients affect clients’ understanding and meaning-making; (ii) How to improve communication of care information to eldelderly clients’ during clinical/institutional consultations.