Negotiating and valuing spaces: The discourse of space and ‘home’ in care homes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Andrea Kenkmann
  • Fiona Poland
  • Diane Burns
  • Paula Hyde
  • Anne Killett

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of East Anglia Faculty of Health


This paper examines how space in care homes is experienced and negotiated by people who live and work in them. The analysis of qualitative data of five in-depth case studies of care homes in England revealed three key ways in which space is negotiated: a) the way in which values affect interactions inside versus outside the care home environment, b) the negotiation of boundaries and domains within the homes, and c) the sense of being at ‘home’. The paper illuminates how the design of the buildings and organisational factors can reinforce or bridge dichotomies between inside and outside spaces. Residents’ abilities to re-negotiate boundaries, domains and communal spaces within homes are shown to be affected by organisational factors such as priorities of staff members. Despite ‘home’ being a common discourse, the spaces within care homes were often organised, ordered and experienced as two distinct, co-present worlds: the dwelling place of residents and the workplace of staff.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Place
Early online date24 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017