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Description de l’éditeur
As our population ages, an increasing need exists for gerontological social workers. An important role for these social workers is to help empower older people and their caregivers (Cox & Parsons, 1994). Within the "top-down" hierarchy of nursing homes, the contributions of family members and nurses aides often are overlooked, resulting in feelings of powerlessness and resentment (Mok & Mui, 1996; Tellis-Nayak, 1988). This article describes a model in which social workers help empower these caregivers to become involved in planning the care of nursing home residents. Family members and nurses aides are caregivers who are especially familiar with residents' needs. Many family members stay vitally involved in the lives of their institutionalized elderly relatives and want to play a part in their care (Bowers, 1988). Likewise, the nurses aides know residents' intimate routines and personal preferences (Aroskar, Urv-Wong, & Kane, 1990). Often, however, both these groups feel unrecognized for their efforts and powerless to make changes in resident care (Cox & Parsons, 1994; Duncan & Morgan, 1994). When these feelings become intense, conflicts between family members and staff can erupt, thereby diminishing the care of the resident (Pillemer et al., 2003; Vinton & Mazza, 1994).