Employee Gentleness in Caregiving Organisations

The aims of this two year research project were to understand the nature of employee gentleness in care settings, and how employee gentleness is fostered in such settings.

The research involved ethnographic case studies of a day care hospice and two care homes.

hands holding elderly hands in hospice seting

Our study found that the most important aspect of being gentle was taking a ‘soft, slow and patient’ approach to care.  This approach combined speaking in a soft and quiet manner, soft touch, and the patient delivery of care with gradually guiding people to achieve specific things (such as talking about emotional difficulties, or washing and dressing) whilst maintaining a close relationship with clients. 

Employee gentleness was fostered through the creation of a climate that included:

  • sharing beliefs in person-centred care;
  • staff autonomy;
  • supportive colleagues and managers who will redistribute care/other tasks when caregivers need to spend extra time with clients;
  • sharing knowledge of clients at handovers and team meetings;
  • low workloads and few interruptions.

The project was funded by the Lord Alliance AMBS Research Fund.

Project team members

  • David Holman (AMBS)
  • Clare Mumford (AMBS)
  • Maurice Nagington (Faculty of Nursing)
  • Leo McCann (AMBS)

Further information