International Journal of Research in Nursing

A History of the Present: The Impact of Newspapers' Constructions of Maltreatment in an Irish Nursing Home

Amanda Phelan

DOI : 10.3844/ijrnsp.2016.1.11

International Journal of Research in Nursing

Volume 7, Issue 1

Pages 1-11


Since the publication of Ireland's policy on elder abuse, structural, practice, policy and research advances have occurred. However, a significant catalyst to in raising the public consciousness was the impact of an undercover broadcast of maltreatment in Leas Cross nursing home in 2005. This broadcast has had an enduring and significant impact on nursing home care until the present day. Consequently, this study provides insights into newspaper editorial rhetorical representations following the broadcast of an undercover television expose of sub-standard care practices in Leas Cross. Data collection involved the examination of editorial coverage in four national newspapers following the television broadcast, Primetime Investigates: Home Truths (Radio Telivis Eireann (RTE) in 2005. Using three methods within the tradition of critical discourse analysis, the study reveals how typical unmitigated understandings of elder abuse were rendered visible through the construction of subject positions and identities. Furthermore, the consequences of these editorials are considered. Findings show that particular typified narratives were used to present a selected reality and there are distinct differences in broadsheets and tabloid publications. The broadcast's exposure of this substandard care is seen to have an enduring impact on both the establishment of the Irish Health Information and Quality Authority in 2007 and on current standards of regulations in nursing care.


© 2016 Amanda Phelan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.