The origins and development of Scottish convalescent homes, 1860-1939

Cronin, Jenny (2003) The origins and development of Scottish convalescent homes, 1860-1939. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Scottish convalescent homes, established between 1860 and 1939, provided short-term care for around two to three weeks for patients recovering from trauma, surgery, or illness either at home or in hospital. In 1870, there were just seven convalescent homes, mainly in the West of Scotland, with an annual admission rate of 4000 patients. By the 1930s this had risen to over sixty convalescent homes that cared for more than 34,000 people annually. Despite the massive growth of Scottish convalescent homes, lack of accurate data about the topic has led to a variety of misunderstandings over their origins, purpose, function and development. This thesis reclaims the hitherto forgotten or misunderstood history of the convalescent homes in Scotland between 1860 and 1939.

An extensive survey of the convalescent homes uncovered a wide diversity of individuals and organisations involved in their sponsorship. This ranged from independent promoters, hospitals, religious and temperance organisations, to Co-operative and friendly societies. The survey also revealed considerable geographical and chronological diversity in the extent of overall convalescent home provision. During the nineteenth century, few doubled their purpose was to return the deserving sick poor to health and productive life. Confusion over their definition arose during the twentieth century when various mutual assurance organisations began to sponsor homes. The mutual assurance societies were less willing to associate their convalescent homes with institutions for the poor. They were also more flexible in their admission homes with institution for the poor. They were also more flexible in their admission policies and admitted patients for both rest and recuperation from illness. Sponsors of new children’s convalescent homes during the twentieth century were also reluctant to differentiate between those in convalescence and ailing children needing a country break. An association thus developed between holidays and time spent an convalescent homes. Although there were similarities between the experience of a holiday and the regime of a convalescent home, such as the focus on fresh air, healthy diet, recreation and exercise, in other respects they were quite different. The structured routine provided by most convalescent homes centred on a return to health whereas holidays stressed freedom and recreation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Supervisor's Name: Dupree, Dr. Marguerite, Gordon, Dr. Eleanor and Durie, Dr. Alastair
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-2316
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:53

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