Care Communication : Making a home in a Japanese eldercare facility book cover
1st Edition

Care Communication
Making a home in a Japanese eldercare facility

ISBN 9780367410667
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
188 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book studies communication in institutional eldercare. It is based on audio-recorded interactions between residents and staff in a Japanese care facility. The focus is on the morning care routines, which include getting the residents out of bed and ready for the day. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, the analysis explores the characteristics of care communication as they become manifest in the interactional small print. Topics include the use of terms of address and formal speech, the basic organisation of openings and closings, the difficulties of talking while working—and, at times, working while talking—and tempo differences between residents and staff as they move along between bed and breakfast. The research findings are contextualised with results from previous studies, tracing significant features and explanation for deviant cases.

The author is a trained linguist and certified nursing assistant with first-hand working experience in institutional eldercare.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Background and Previous Research

3. Data and Methodology

4. Honorifics

5. Openings and Closings

6. Talk at Work

7. Tempo

8. Conclusions

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Peter Backhaus is Associate Professor at Waseda University, Tokyo. His main research interests are sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and writing and orthography. Publications include Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo (Multilingual Matters, 2007) and Communication in Elderly Care: Cross-cultural Perspectives (ed., Continuum, 2011).


'This fine book elucidates the characteristics of communication in a Japanese residential care institution through the author’s analysis of linguistic interaction between carers and residents during the morning care segment of their day. Its timely and thoughtful approach to the multifaceted linguistic issues involved in caring for residents in a rapidly expanding sector which is also dealing with the introduction of foreign care workers and moves towards robotic care assistants makes a very valuable contribution to the growing literature in this field.'Emeritus Professor Nanette Gottlieb, School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Queensland

'Care Communication is a challenge to all eldercare institutions to take moment-by-moment verbal interactions between staff and residents seriously, if they are to claim care for their residents’ well-being. As Backhaus notes in his closing chapter "...the overall importance of communication to institutional eldercare is by no means as obvious to care professionals as it may be to the linguist or social scientist". But after reading this book, it will be. Care Communication is a methodologically sound, theoretically informed, and clearly written account – from multiple possible angles of analytic perspectives – of the verbal techniques of control and resistance that perfuse the daily talk between caregivers and care recipients at a single Japanese eldercare facility. Its conclusions are compelling and the implications for our understanding of how well-being is (or is not) built in daily micro-encounters between staff and resident make this an indispensable addition to the study of eldercare institutions in particular and of institutional communication in general.'Professor Emerita Janet S Shibamoto-Smith, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis

'Backhaus, not surprisingly, elucidates these findings in a delightfully clear expository style, which can easily be followed and enjoyed by experts and nonexperts alike. The book also includes extensive references to relevant previous studies, which provide useful resources for future researchers as well as a good foundation for interpreting the current subject matter the book discusses.' Contemporary Japan, Volume 30, Issue 2

'The book will therefore be of interest to linguists interested in this area who, for example, may be working on care-related study books for non-Japanese workers and/or designing software to be mounted on robots attending to the Japanese elderly in the future.'  — Pacific Affairs, Volume 91, Issue 2