Laura Funk

Laura Funk
University of Manitoba | UMN

PhD
Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology, and member of University of Manitoba Faculty Association.

About

95
Publications
15,983
Reads
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2,140
Citations
Citations since 2016
43 Research Items
1303 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Introduction
I am a Professor of Sociology, University of Manitoba. I examine how paid and unpaid carers make sense of experiences, preserve valued identities, and negotiate normative ideals and emotions. I also explore how these processes engage broader discourses surrounding age, care and responsibility. See laurafunk.ca for more details.
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - September 2021
University of Manitoba
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
Adult children's accounts of responsibility for aging parents were explored using data from multiple, in-person, semi-structured qualitative interviews with 28 participants in Victoria, Canada. An emphasis on respecting parental autonomy and individual responsibility was present in varying forms. Controlling or bossy behaviour was often criticized...
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A desire to ‘return’ or ‘pay back’ past care has been identified as a potential motivator of support provided by adult children to their ageing parents. The purpose of this study is to examine whether, how and in what ways adult children interpret and apply the concept of delayed reciprocity in filial relationships. Twenty-eight men and women suppo...
Article
While there is a fair amount of knowledge regarding substantive features of end of life care that family members desire and appreciate, we lack full understanding of the process whereby family members formulate care evaluations. In this article we draw on an analysis of interview data from 24 bereaved family members to explicate how they interpret...
Article
FUNK LM, STAJDUHAR KI and PURKIS ME. Nursing Inquiry 2011; 18: 66–76 An exploration of empowerment discourse within home-care nurses’ accounts of practice In this study, we explore how client and family caregiver ‘empowerment’ is interpreted by home-care nurses talking about their practice with palliative (and to a lesser extent, non-palliative) cl...
Article
Les auteures analysent le concept du «choix» dans le travail des aidants naturels filiaux. Dans la documentation théorique et empirique sur le travail des aidants naturels, une dichotomie entre le «choix» et l'«obligation» est considérée comme une construction sociale. Néanmoins, cette dichotomie ne reflète pas adéquatement les expériences familial...
Article
Violence is a pervasive, yet often hidden, issue within nursing homes, affecting residents, family members and care workers. Critical exploration of embedded understandings of violence within public policies can provide important insights into how violence is viewed and addressed in nursing home environments as well as the implications of violence...
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Recent public and policy interventions aim to recognise formally the contributions of family care-givers to long-term residential care in Canada, with some arguing family carers are more than visitors and should be recognised as essential care-givers. These developments call for reconsidering how family care roles are understood and operationalised...
Article
End-of-life (EOL) care is a crucial public health issue in Hong Kong, and one in which the community social service sector has become increasingly involved, as healthcare policy in the city shifts towards greater emphasis on social relationships in non-medical forms of EOL care. This study used abductive grounded theory methodology to illustrate th...
Article
Although emerging research links family experiences with long-term residential care (LTRC) transitions to structural features of health care systems, existing scholarship inadvertently tends to represent the transition as an individual problem to which families need to adjust. This secondary qualitative analysis of 55 interviews with 22 family memb...
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Background Death at home has been identified as a key quality indicator for Canadian health care systems and is often assumed to reflect the wishes of the entire Canadian public. Although research in other countries has begun to question this assumption, there is a dearth of rigorous evidence of a national scope in Canada. This study addresses this...
Article
The capacities of home care programs to respond to clients’ holistic, everyday needs and changing circumstances can shape trajectories of clients and family caregivers. This analysis examines how such flexibility emerges in relations between home care actors within the constraints of policies, regulations and funding contexts. A relational lens bro...
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Seeking to support qualitative researchers in the artful development of feminist care scholarship, our goal here is to ‘look back’ on how we have conceptualized the problems of care and developed research that illuminates the social organization of care in distinct ways. As part of a ‘feminist care scholar retrospective’, we present five condensed...
Article
Recent developments in Hong Kong end-of-life (EOL) care have shifted some caring work for dying people and their families to cross-disciplinary collaboration in community settings. Social-medical collaboration becomes especially important. This study aims to use social capital as an analytical lens to examine the processes and mechanisms of social-...
Article
This study explores interpretations of interpersonal aggression involving older adults, through an analysis of semi-structured interview data from 13 assisted living (AL) tenants and 19 AL service and/or care workers. Differing relations (tenant-tenant and tenant-worker) shape the kinds of tenant actions experienced as problematic and/or aggressive...
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Purpose: Intimate care procedures, such as bathing and toileting, are often regarded as simple, humble tasks. However, the provision of such care transforms a very private, personal activity into a social process. Understanding this complex process and the psychological impact it has on those providing and receiving care is critical in order to mit...
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Rationale, aims and objectives: There is a large body of literature from all over the world that describes, analyzes, or evaluates home care models and interventions. The present article aims to identify the practical lessons that can be gained from a systematic examination of that literature. Method: We conducted a three-step sequential search...
Article
Public representations of long-term residential care (LTRC) facilities have received limited focus in Canada, although literature from other countries indicates that public perceptions of LTRC tend to be negative, particularly in contexts that prioritize aging and dying in place. Using Manitoba as the study context, we investigate a question of bro...
Preprint
Rationale, aims and objectives: There is a large body of literature from all over the world that describes, analyzes, or evaluates home care models and interventions. The present article aims to identify the practical lessons that can be gained from a systematic examination of that literature. Method: We conducted a three-step sequential search pro...
Article
In Hong Kong, death and dying are identified as a crucial public health issue, and as the healthcare system has developed, there has been a shift of some care for dying people and their families to cross‐disciplinary collaboration in community settings. This shift enhances the salience of social relationships in non‐medical forms of community‐based...
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Research on caregiver identity in the context of memory impairment has focused primarily on more advanced stages of the cognitive impairment trajectory (e.g., dementia caregivers), failing to capture the complex dynamics of early caregiver identity development (e.g., MCI; mild cognitive impairment caregivers). The aim of this study was to develop a...
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Violence can lead to physical and psychological harm, emotional exhaustion, and burnout for paid and unpaid carers. Concomitantly, being regarded as violent, aggressive, or difficult can have a direct impact on older adults’ sense of self, care relationships, and quality of care. Current research on violence and aging lacks systemic understanding o...
Article
In this article, we analyze how mainstream news media frames violence in relation to dementia and the consequences of different frames for people living with dementia and their carers. Conceptually, the goal is to bring literature on citizenship and aggression into dialog with each other. Empirically, a total of 141 regional and national English-la...
Preprint
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Despite significant impacts on employee health, workplace violence tends to be minimized and normalized by service workers and by organizations, with employees implicitly held culpable for causing aggression through how they manage interactions. Little is known about how workers accomplish minimization and normalization, or how this process might b...
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Background: Enhancing non-clinical home care supports and services for older adults to live well is a strategic priority in developed countries, including Canada. Underpinning these supports and services are structures of care that are reflected in home care policies, programs and practices within jurisdictions. These approaches to care exist at m...
Article
Systematic, in-depth exploration of news media coverage of aggression and older adults remains sparse, with little attention to how and why particular frames manifest in coverage across differing settings and relationships. Frame analysis was used to analyze 141 English-language Canadian news media articles published between 2008 and 2019. Existing...
Article
Older adults who experience challenges related to mental health are unlikely to seek professional help. The voices of older adults who have navigated through mental health issues and systems of care to arrive at psychological treatment are less well understood. We conducted individual interviews with 15 adults aged 61 to 86 who sought psychological...
Article
This paper starts from the premise that family care work is more than an individual struggle – it is a public issue requiring collective engagement towards structural change. But how do carers themselves become engaged in forms of activism designed to achieve such change? In this paper, we present findings from an exploration into how five activist...
Article
Emotions may be pivotal to understanding how fragmented care systems for older adults can generate structural carer burden. Analysing 78 interviews with 32 carers who navigated formal services in a Western Canadian city, we explore and distinguish between emotional responses to navigation challenges and the emotion work that navigation entails. Emo...
Article
Many First Nations homes lack adequate water and sanitation services. One way to address these conditions is to develop effective public engagement strategies. Thus, in this qualitative interview study, we explored how 22 non-Indigenous Canadians from one city interpreted this issue and their interest in it. We analyzed the transcribed data using t...
Article
Background and objectives: Although it is generally acknowledged that the changing behaviors of some people living with dementia can be emotionally exhausting for family members, there has been little research on how carers actually interpret and manage their emotional responses when interacting with persons with dementia in context and over time....
Article
Interpretations of family carer empowerment in much nursing research, and in home‐care practice and policy, rarely attend explicitly to families’ choice or control about the nature, extent or length of their involvement, or control over the impact on their own health. In this article, structural empowerment is used as an analytic lens to examine ho...
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Most of the existing literature on inclusion and exclusion among older adults focuses on community-dwelling individuals. In this article, we draw on the results of a comparative case study to explore how older adults in two assisted living settings experience inclusion and exclusion. One site was a low-income facility and the other a higher-end fac...
Article
In Canadian residential long-term care, paid companion services are increasingly viewed as helping to meet older adults’ psycho-social needs. Complementing the critique of these services from a political economy perspective, analyses of companions’ talk about their work can illuminate not only why companions stay in devalued and often invisible wor...
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Health and social science researchers are increasingly interested in the range of new possibilities and benefits associated with diary methods, particularly using digital devices. In this article, we explore how a flexible diary method, which enables participants to choose the device (i.e., paper notebook, tablet, or computer) and medium (i.e., tex...
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Dominant approaches to relational aggression among older adults tend to conceptualize the problem as a be-havioral or interpersonal issue, and can inadvertently infantilize the phenomenon as 'bullying.' In this article we use a narrative approach and the conceptual lens of precarity to develop an in-depth, theoretically informed analysis of relatio...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how formal navigators interpret their roles supporting families of older adults. Design/methodology/approach This study was an interpretive inquiry informed by critical gerontology and discourse analytic methods. Interview data were collected and analyzed from 22 formal service providers who helped...
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Family care, while often rewarding, can negatively affect carers’ health, wealth and social connections. Yet our understanding of the impacts of family care is based primarily on current or single care episodes. In this presentation we theorise how life courses of family care might lead to cumulative advantage/disadvantage for carers. Based on life...
Article
One topic rarely addressed in the literature on older adults and interpersonal violence is the violence that can be experienced by family carers in relationship with a person living with cognitive impairment. This violence tends to remain hidden and is rarely framed as intimate partner violence. We examine how situations of intimidation and violenc...
Article
Background and Objectives Structural features of formal care systems influence the amount, difficulty, and complexity of what carers do as they interface with those systems. In this study, we explored how carers navigate health and social care systems, and their experiences of structural burden related to features such as complexity and fragmentati...
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The paid provision of care for dying persons and their families blends commodified emotion work and attachments to two often-conflicting role identities: the caring person and the professional. We explore how health care employees interpret personal grief related to patient death, drawing on interviews with 12 health care aides and 13 nurses. Data...
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Volunteer contributions in residential care are viewed as an important way to meet older adults’ psychosocial needs in the context of strained resources and increasingly complex resident populations. The implications of this context for volunteering experiences are rarely considered. This paper presents findings from interviews with 18 volunteers a...
Article
LAT (Living Apart Together) relationships involve two people in a long-term intimate relationship who choose to live in separate households. Due to their tendency to lack structural commitments and rely on emotional bonds, LAT relationships can be viewed as a manifestation of individualization. Despite the increasing social acceptability of non-tra...
Article
This article reports findings from an interpretive study of filial responsibility constructions among 28 adult children with ageing parents in Victoria, Canada. Participants were interviewed in person and data were analysed using coding and constant comparison, with attention to the content and process of talk. Participants tended to have difficult...
Article
Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships involve two people in a long-term, committed intimate relationship who choose to live in separate households. We present findings from one of the first Canadian studies of this phenomenon, also distinct in its use of an interpretive approach to the phenomenon. Fifty-six mid- to late-life participants (28 co...
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Objective: Although growing numbers of family members provide end-of-life care for dying persons, caregivers frequently report lacking essential information, knowledge, and skills. This analysis explicates what family members learn during the process of providing end-of-life care. Method: Four qualitative interview studies of family caregivers t...
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This paper addresses how families' roles and responsibility for care are constructed within home health (in contrast to the responsibility of home health). A discourse analysis informed by a critical theoretical approach was used to analyze qualitative interviews with 13 home health managers and clinical leaders in British Columbia, alongside home...
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Background: Family caregivers are assuming growing responsibilities in providing care to dying family members. Supporting them is fundamental to ensure quality end-of-life care and to buffer potentially negative outcomes, although family caregivers frequently acknowledge a deficiency of information, knowledge, and skills necessary to assume the ta...
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Relationships between families and home health nurses promote effective care and service access for those at end of life, positive caregiver experiences, and satisfaction with care. This study explores family caregivers’ accounts of relationships with home care nurses; findings inform a model of relationships and satisfaction with home health servi...
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A sense of filial responsibility, particularly where it is a strong cultural norm, may be beneficial for caregiver self-rated health and well-being. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between filial responsibility attitudes and both self-rated health and well-being within three cultural groups: Caucasian Canadian (n = 100), Chine...
Article
Managing grief and difficult emotions related to end-of-life (EOL) care is an often under-recognized part of the work of resident care aides (RCAs). In this interpretive analysis we explore the shared and socially constructed ideas that 11 RCAs in 1 Canadian city employ to make sense of death and the provision of EOL care. RCAs spoke of personal ch...
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RÉSUMÉ Nous avons examiné les caractéristiques contextuelles qui façonnent les soins de fin de vie (SFV) dans les établissements de soins pour bénéficiaires, en s’appuyant sur les perspectives de 11 aidants résidents (AR) dans un centre urbain canadien de l’Ouest. ARs décrivent les soins de fin de vie comme “offrant un confort,” y compris le bien-ê...
Article
This paper examines the relationship between attitudes of filial responsibility and five different types of care-giving behaviours to parents among three cultural groups. It does so within an assessment of the relative importance of cultural versus structural factors for care-giving behaviours. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 100 Caucas...
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Background: There is growing awareness that different terminal diseases translate into different family caregiver experiences, and the palliative and supportive care needs of these families are both similar and unique. Family members caring for people with motor neurone disease may experience exceptional strain due to the usually rapid and progres...
Article
Families of patients are well poised to comment on the end-of-life (EOL) care received by those patients and can provide feedback to care providers and decision makers. To better understand family-member evaluations of the quality of in-patient EOL care, this study draws on qualitative interview data (n = 24) to identify core aspects of EOL care th...
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This paper examines the distinctiveness and similarities of diasporic Chinese Canadian caregivers to older adults compared with Hong Kong Chinese and Caucasian Canadian caregivers. Particular interest lies in whether filial responsibility, actual caregiving behaviours, health and a variety of structural characteristics cluster in ways that suggest...
Article
Drawing on interviews with 26 bereaved individuals who provided care to a dying family member at home, the purpose of this article is to identify and explore motivations behind the “nonuse” of home health services. Participants resided in a Western Canadian regional health authority. In their accounts of not asking for help from formal providers, p...
Article
Home-based family caregivers are often assisted by home care services founded upon principles of health promotion, such as empowerment. Using an interpretive approach and in-depth qualitative interviews, the authors examine descriptions of family empowerment by leaders and managers in the field of home health care in the province of British Columbi...
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Home-based family caregivers are often assisted by home care services founded upon principles of health promotion, such as empowerment. Using an interpretive approach and in-depth qualitative interviews, the authors examine descriptions of family empowerment by leaders and managers in the field of home health care in the province of British Columbi...
Article
RÉSUMÉ Cet article examine la littérature internationale rédigée en anglais sur le thème du soutien social et des soins gérontologiques depuis le début des années 1990. La littérature s’est développée, mais il manque de consensus sur le sens des termes et sur la mesure. L’intérêt reste une constante pour l’aide pratique, les prestations de soutien...
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RÉSUMÉ Les recherches existantes sur les modes d’utilisation des soins de santé des Canadiens âgés suggèrent que habituellement le revenu ne restreint pas l’accès d’une personne. Cependant, le rôle que joue le revenu en influençant l’accès aux services de santé par les personnes âgées vivant en milieux ruraux est relativement inconnu. Cet article e...
Article
It is widely agreed that the sociological concept of generations can contribute to our understanding of social change, continuity, stratification, identity development, and the life course in historical context. In this book, Judith Burnett echoes the voices of many others (e.g., Eyerman & Turner, 1998; McDaniel, 2001) who have suggested that the c...
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In this article, we draw on data collected from two samples of home care nurses to examine how relationships between nurses and family caregivers intersected with access to palliative home care nursing services. Participants referred to relationships as important for their practical benefits and for access to care: good relationships enhanced the n...
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This paper empirically examines the relationship between advantage, social capital and health status to assess (a) whether social capital adds explanatory power to what we already know about the relationship between advantage and health and (b) whether social capital adds anything beyond its component parts, namely social participation and trust. I...
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We explore home care nurse decision-making about the need for and amount of service by clients and families at the end of life. We identify factors nurses refer to when describing these decisions, situated within contextual features of nursing practice. Home care nurses are often responsible for decisions which have an impact on the access of clien...
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The changing context of palliative care over the last decade highlights the importance of recent research on home-based family caregiving at the end of life. This article reports on a comprehensive review of quantitative research (1998-2008) in this area, utilizing a systematic approach targeting studies on family caregivers, home settings, and an...
Article
Family caregivers are crucial for supporting home death. We reviewed published qualitative research on home-based family caregiving at end of life (1998-2008), synthesizing key findings and identifying gaps where additional research is needed. Multiple databases were searched and abstracts reviewed for a focus on family caregiving and palliative ca...
Article
Traditionally viewed as in opposition to palliative care, newer ideas about 'health-promoting palliative care' increasingly infuse the practices and philosophies of healthcare professionals, often invoking ideals of empowerment and participation in care and decision-making. The general tendency is to assume that empowerment, participation, and self...
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RÉSUMÉ S’inspirant de l’hypothèse d’enjeu intergénérationelle (Bengtson and Kuypers, 1971), cet’article étudie la congruence et l’in-congruence entre les générations sur l’obligation filiale, et les implications pour l’assistance sociale, entre les parents anciens nisei (la seconde génération) et les enfants adultes de sansei (la troisième générati...
Article
À partir de comptes rendus de 28 enfants adultes, l'auteure étudie la dynamique interprétative de la responsabilité sociale et filiale envers les personnes âgées. Dans leurs propos sur leur responsabilité filiale, les participants avaient tendance à qualifier de positives les motivations individualistes et spontanées tandis qu'en parlant des autres...
Article
When providing care for a loved one with a terminal illness, family members often look to health care providers for guidance and expertise. The objective of this study is to explore family caregiver accounts of their experiences within the health care system and with individual providers. A thematic analysis of secondary qualitative data was perfor...
Article
Family caregiving tends to involve strong and often competing emotional experiences. Most of our knowledge of caregiving stems from interview research, much of it cross-sectional in nature. In this article we explore the implications of interviews as a research method for understanding caregiving. Specifically, we address difficulties in interpreti...
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Informal carers are central to the achievement of end of life care and death at home and to policy aims of enabling patient choice towards end of life. They provide a substantial, yet hidden contribution to our economy. This entails considerable personal cost to carers, and it is recognised that their needs should be assessed and addressed. However...
Article
Since the inception of the modern hospice movement, the patient and family caregiver (FCG) have been considered the unit of care; family members are identified as 'clients' within palliative care philosophy. Little research has focused on how FCGs define their roles within the hospice palliative care (HPC) system. The aim of this study was to descr...