Living and Dying at Murray Manor

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University of Virginia Press, Nov 29, 2012 - Social Science - 221 pages
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Living and Dying at Murray Manor is a classic text that documents how the "work" of everyday life in a nursing home is accomplished. Jaber F. Gubrium spent several months at a nursing home as a participant-observer, involved in activities ranging from performing menial "toileting" work to serving as a gerontologist at staff meetings. The result is not a survey of statistics about nursing homes but an examination of the social organization of care in a single home the author calls Murray Manor. Gubrium's research reveals how staff, clientele, relatives, visiting physicians, and funeral directors negotiated their respective roles, needs, and goals- and how, in the end, Murray Manor emerged as an organized social entity.


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The Setting
Top Staff and Its World
The Social Ties of Clientele
BedandBody Work
Passing Time
Dying and Death

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Page xxi - It was then and still is my belief that any group of persons — prisoners, primitives, pilots, or patients — develop a life of their own that becomes meaningful, reasonable, and normal once you get close to it, and that a good way to learn about any of these worlds is to submit oneself in the company of the members to the daily round of petty contingencies to which they are subject
Page xxii - What the top staff saw as good and efficient caregiving, floor staff could consider "just getting the job done.
Page xxiii - place." By and large, top staff conducted their daily affairs in their offices and in meetings. Those places helped to keep their world separate and distinct from other worlds, its knowledge and sense of what is reasonable intact and unchallenged. Floor staff, especially nurse's aides, spent most of their work lives on resident floors, caring for and mingling with the residents and each other. Rarely did they attend patient care conferences, nor did they otherwise much enter into top staff's world.
Page xxii - regular references by the floor staff to 'them,' meaning the administrative staff, conveyed a sense of being outside of important channels of decision-making affecting their work. Comments such as 'we' know what we want, meaning what patients desire as opposed to what staff considers is best for 'them,' signaled a shared reasonableness among equals that outsiders couldn't, or perhaps wouldn't, understand.

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About the author (2012)

Jaber F. Gubrium is Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida and the author of several books, including The Active Interview and the forthcoming The New Language of Qualitative Method.

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