Examining Dual Roles in Long-term Care Homes in Rural Alberta

Brassolotto, J., Haney, C., Caspar, S., Spenceley, S. (2021). Examining dual roles in long-term-care homes in rural Alberta: a qualitative study. Rural and Remote Health, 21, 6231. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH6231

In rural settings, many healthcare professionals experience intersections of professional and personal relationships, often known as dual roles. This article outlines results from a qualitative case study of LTC in rural Alberta, Canada and provides evidence of some challenges and, more notably, the considerable benefits of dual roles in these settings.

Results: Dual roles were primarily described as beneficial for care provision. In many cases, dual roles provided participants with opportunities for reciprocity, enhanced person-centered care, and increased perceptions of trust and community accountability. Similar to what has been documented in the extant literature, dual roles also presented some challenges regarding personal and professional boundaries for those in leadership. However, the negative examples were outweighed by positive accounts of how dual roles can serve as a potential asset of rural LTC.

Key Findings: There is a need for more nuanced conversations around the implications of dual roles. Leaders in rural LTC can promote conversations among care providers, with an emphasis on the cultural context of care provision and how dual roles play out in their specific professional practice. Blanket policies or educational approaches that frame dual roles as necessarily are not only insensitive to the unique nature of rural LTC, but prohibitive of relational elements that these results suggest are highly supportive of person-centered care.