Developing Caring Conversations in care homes: an appreciative inquiry

Belinda Dewar, Tamsin MacBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
372 Downloads (Pure)


Relationship centred practice is key to delivering quality care in care homes. Evidence is strong about the centrality of human interaction in developing relationships that promote dignity and compassion. The Caring Conversations framework is a framework for delivering compassionate care based on human interactions that was developed in the acute healthcare setting. The key attributes are: be courageous, connect emotionally, be curious, consider other perspectives, collaborate, compromise and celebrate. This paper reports on a study to explore its relevance to the care home setting and the development of an educational intervention, based on the framework, to enhance development of human interaction.

The study used the approach of appreciative inquiry to develop Caring Conversations in the care home setting. Appreciative inquiry has a unique focus on what is working well, understanding why these aspects work well and co-creating strategies to help these good practices happen more of the time. The aim of the study was to celebrate and develop excellent human interaction that promotes dignity between staff, residents and families in care homes. The study took place in 2013-14 in one care home in Scotland, over 10 months. Participants included staff (n=37), residents (n=20) and relatives (n=18). Data generation methods involving residents, relatives and staff included; observation and interviews about experiences of interaction. An iterative process of data analysis involved mapping core themes to the Caring Conversations framework.

Findings were mapped to the Caring Conversations framework.

How people communicated mapped well to the Caring Conversations framework. Building on knowledge of what works well, staff developed small ‘tests of change’ that enabled these good practices to happen more of the time. Appreciative inquiry proved a valuable approach to exploring Caring Conversations, developing practice and developing an educational intervention that could be shared across other care settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1386
JournalHealth & Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


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