Nursing Home

A comparative study of empowering practice in voluntary and statutory nursing homes for older people in Co. Cavan.


The study will seek to make comparisons between the voluntary an statutory services for older people in County Cavan with particular reference to level of understanding and application of the concept of empowerment in service provision.

Thursz et al (1995) have defined Empowerment as a process of helping people gain, regain or maintain personal power or control over their lives, with the sense that they can influence the people and organisations which affect them. The ultimate goal of Empowerment is to enable persons to live in a manner that maximises their ability to develop independent, positive and satisfying lifestyles.

There are many factors which militate against the adoption of empowering practices in the care of older people: institutional, professional , cultural and attitudinal. This study proposes to investigate the influence of these factors in the voluntary and statutory sectors, as well as identifying aspects and areas of service provision, which successfully incorporate the concept of empowerment. It is also hoped to make recommendations regarding potential ‘best practice’ approaches to the incorporation or the principles of empowerment in residential care for older people.

The Research Team

Dr. Eleanor Fitzmaurice Principal Researcher Department of Business & Humanities, IT, Sligo. Ms. Grainne Geary Research Student Department of Business & Humanities, IT, Sligo.


The author has already undertaken a study in relation to this area as part of the requiremetns of the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Studies , entitled “An investigation of the viability of using an empowering model to service provision in a nursing home for older people”. The results of this study are sufficiently interesting and significant to warrant further research into this area.

Project Details

To identify the levels of knowledge and awareness of management and staff in relation to the concept of empowerment in the organisations selection for study

To investigate the perceptions of management and staff in relation to the levels of empowerment which exist within the chosen organisations.

To investigate barriers to incorporating an empowering model of service provision for older persons in the chosen organisations.

To investigate factors which facilitate the inclusion of empowerment in service provision in the selected organisations.

To compare and contrast the approaches to empowering practice observed in voluntary and statutory organisations.

To make recommendations with regard to the adoption of the principles and practice of empowerment in residential services for older people.