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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Communication Studies and Theatre

First Advisor

Karla Hunter


This study examined group home staff’s communication with families as well as staff’s attitudes towards family interaction. Four focus groups were conducted with a total of 19 participants (n=19). Two group home agencies participated with two focus groups each, one management group and one direct care staff group. The qualitative method of grounded theory was used to analyze focus group data. The following five concepts emerged from the data analysis: 1) communicating with families is part of the job, 2) relationships are key, 3) family interactions are individualized, 4) family interaction impacts residents, and 5) staff value family involvement. The researcher developed these five concepts into the communication model of person- and family-centered care. This model explains how communication contributes to creating a person- and family-centered approach to health care, particularly in group homes for people with disabilities. The results of the study were also discussed in relation to previous literature and theory. Finally, limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research were also discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

People with disabilities -- Care
People with disabilities -- Family relationships
Group homes -- Employees
Communication in medicine


Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-119)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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