It's a Scandal! Comparing the causes and consequences of nursing home media scandals in five countries

Liz Lloyd, Albert Banerjee, Frode Fadnes, Charlene Harrington, Marta SZehebely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This study aims to explore the causes and consequences of media scandals involving
nursing homes for older persons in Canada, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
Design/methodology/approach – This study uses a descriptive case-study methodology which
provides an in-depth, focused, qualitative analysis of one selected nursing home scandal in each
jurisdiction. Scandals were selected on the basis of being substantive enough to potentially affect
policy. An international comparative perspective was adopted to consider whether and how different
social, political and economic contexts might shape scandals and their consequences.
Findings – This study found that for-profit residential care provision as well as international trends
in the ownership and financing of nursing homes were factors in the emergence of all media scandals,
as was investigative reporting and a lack of consensus around the role of the state in the delivery of
residential care. All scandals resulted in government action but such action generally avoided
addressing underlying structural conditions.
Research limitations/implications – This study examines only the short-term effects of five
media scandals.
Originality/value – While there has been longstanding recognition of the importance of scandals to
the development of residential care policy, there have been few studies that have systematically
examined the causes and consequences of such scandals. This paper contributes to a research agenda
that more fully considers the media’s role in the development of residential care policy, attending to
both its promises and shortcomings
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI 10.1108/IJSSP-03-2013-0034
Pages (from-to)2-18
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2014


  • Ageing, Policy, Ownership, Regulation, Mass media, Privatisation, Long-term care, Nursing homes, Scandal


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