Facilitating Change, the Decision-maker's Views of Municipality Organized Food Distribution to Elderly People Living at Home and Suggestions for Development – A Participatory Action Research Study
Public Administration Research
This study is the final part of a larger project with an action research approach focusing on food distribution (FD) within municipal service and care for elderly persons, living at home (≥ 65 years), from various perspectives. The aim was to describe the decision-makers' the politicians and top level administrative manager's views on the FD service, and to give feedback from the results of earlier studies based on information given by FD receivers, the perspectives of involved professionals,
... ed professionals, and the results of an intervention study and further to report the decision-makers suggestions for which areas should be taken into consideration as starting points to improve the FD process and practice. Data was gathered in two steps: step 1, through individual interviews (n=12) with the decision-makers during the spring of 2009, step 2a through feedback from previous studies, received during the autumn of 2011 and step 2b from discussions based on the feedback. The interview data was analysed using qualitative content analysis. The findings indicated a discrepancy between the reality and the political visions. It was shown that decision-maker's needed to make decisions despite their uncertain knowledge of the complexity of the FD programme. They considered what has been, what is, and will be, when setting goals. Their goal was that elderly person's rights and needs should be fulfilled. This included freedom of choice and individual consideration. In addition, it meant, meeting elderly people's medical and social needs. Three areas were found to require facilitation for change related to FD: 1) the monitoring of the elderly's health and wellbeing while providing FD, 2) the increasing of professional competence, and 3) the creation of a forum for inter-professional communication. The findings in this study have implications for nursing, gerontology and public administration.