AIM: To explore aged care staff perceptions and experience of their relationships with co-workers, older people and families via pragmatic exploratory interviews.
METHODS: Thirty-nine direct care staff from seven residential age care facilities and 12 community organisations were interviewed.
RESULTS: Staff felt that their capacity to develop therapeutic relationships with older people and families was impeded by care tasks and concerns regarding professional boundaries. Positive relationships between staff-family and staff-staff are hindered by staff perceptions of undue care demands, high family expectations, and staff-staff conflict within a hierarchical context and between work shifts.
CONCLUSION: A relationship-centred approach to care as well as staff training and education should be encouraged to assist the development of therapeutic relationships and the management of professional boundaries.