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Triage as an infrastructure of care: The intimate work of redistributing medical care in nursing homes

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Sociology of Health & Illness

Published online on

Abstract

["Sociology of Health & Illness, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article explores how professionals in older persons care work on a triage system in the daily care setting. We follow how triage is introduced in older persons care organizations in The Netherlands, to deal with a scarcity of physicians and distribute care among health workers in the region. We offer a sociological analysis in which we use the notion of infrastructure and infrastructural work to study how professionals work with triage in the daily care setting. This study is based on a formative evaluation in which we as researchers both studied and contributed to the construction of the triage system by sharing and participating in reflexive infrastructural work practices. We show how this method enabled to gradually adjust the triage system to the daily practices of care delivery, taking the spatial‐temporal setting of care into account. We argue that triage not only structures and simplifies but also opens up new ways of re‐placing medical and care work, both professionally and geographically. As our results reveal, re‐placing physicians has complex effects above and beyond the efficient deployment of medical staff. Triage as infrastructure not only changes the location, but also reconfigures the relationships physicians have with residents and nurse aids.\n"]