Caring about Diversities

Dealing with diversity in nursing care is challenging, despite well-established concepts of professional competence. The SNSF-funded project 'Caring about Diversities' focuses on everyday practice in institutional long-term care. In view of an increasingly heterogeneous resident population and super-diverse staff, dealing with diversity is particularly challenging here. Ethnographic research lays the foundation for the development of innovative training approaches.


Starting Point

Organising long-term care in old-age nursing homes is challenging: advanced age, multimorbidity and cognitive impairments of the residents increasingly determine everyday life in the nursing home, and diversity among residents and staff is increasing. Dealing competently with diversity is particularly challenging here because residents are limited in their autonomy and self-determination and staff therefore have a lot of power in shaping care and taking diversity into account. At the same time, demands on quality are increasing and resources are scarce. Consequently, innovation is in demand, and experiments are currently being conducted with new models such as 'Mediterranean wards' or 'queer retirement living'.


'Caring about Diversities' is interested in what actually happens in these experiments and to what extent they have potential for the diversity-sensitive design of standard care. In a first step, the concrete practice of caregiver-resident interactions in different nursing home models is explored. The focus is on how the in itself well-established concepts of 'transcultural competence' and 'person-centredness' are (not) implemented in practice. The aim is to better understand what contributes to a comprehensively diversity-sensitive practice in care and how this can be implemented more sustainably through training.


The project explores everyday practice in institutional long-term care and how diversities are dealt with in this practice, using ethnographic research strategies (participant observation, ethnographic interviews) in institutional living arrangements for people in old age. Both models of segregated care (such as Mediterranean departments) and integrated models are extensively researched. Based on this, it is planned to develop, test and evaluate new training formats for the promotion of diversity-sensitive competence in a participatory manner.


A well-founded conception of diversity-sensitive competence and a better understanding of how its implementation can be sustainably promoted in everyday practice offers the opportunity to improve quality of care and diversity management in homes and thus also contribute to equal opportunities in institutional long-term care.