Objectives: To examine how organizational factors affect good care and mistreatment of older people in care homes.
Methods: Eight residential care homes for older people (including private sector, local authority and NHS providers) took part in a participatory observation-based study of organizational factors affecting care quality.
Results: Grouping organizational factors into infrastructure, management and procedures, staffing, resident population characteristics and culture, we show the context-sensitive nature of interactions between these factors. These interactions could enhance care quality where factors combined positively. Conversely, they could amplify difficulties where one factor came to undermine another, thereby limiting care quality.
Conclusions: This analysis provides empirical insights into how and why similar sector-wide changes to care provision have differential effects at the care home level. It indicates the situated and unpredictable ways in which organizational factors interact, implying the need for locally contextualized quality assessment and improvement actions.
Keywords: elder care; organizational dynamics; participatory research.
© The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.