University Of Tasmania

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Understanding leisure in residential aged care

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 21:40 authored by Stoddart, S, Frances McInerneyFrances McInerney, Sharon AndrewsSharon Andrews, Emma LeaEmma Lea

Background: Leisure provision in Australian residential aged care is mandated through the Aged Care Quality Standards, however, little is known about the nature of leisure or how it is undertaken. Research involving leisure workers has tended to focus on novel interventions trialled by researchers who are specialists in their therapeutic field and evaluated against what is usual practice, with little attention to elucidating this practice. Moreover, the occupational role of 'leisure worker' has struggled for recognition in Australia and has low visibility in literature that relates to aged care workers.

Objective: This study aimed to explore how leisure and its enactment is understood in residential aged care in Australia.

Method: This study used grounded theory methodology. Data were derived from semi-structured interviews with 18 leisure workers, who may be best placed to provide insights on how leisure is constructed in residential aged care. Data were subjected to coding and constant comparative analysis.

Results: Findings are presented in the form of concepts generated from the data, and substantive theory developed from these, that portray leisure as complex in nature, and its enactment as skilled work. The concepts portray leisure as having multiple foci, purposes and processes. The Leisure Theory of Connectivity with its three key categories: familiarity, empathy and holism, and core category connection, encapsulate understandings of leisure elucidated within this study.

Conclusion: The findings of this research relate to literature from the fields of health and social care. This is important work because it contributes towards making leisure in residential aged care visible, and has the potential to further the development of this field. This research may be used to shape the curricula of courses that train leisure workers and as a foundation for further research. Furthermore, it contributes towards raising the profile of a practice that influences how life is experienced by those living in residential aged care.


Publication title

20th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing


Tasmanian School of Medicine

Event title

20th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing

Event Venue


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Community health care; Health related to ageing

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    University Of Tasmania