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The importance of the physical and socio-spatial environment for young people who are cared for in the special youth homes

Research project
Active research
Project period
2017 - ongoing
Project owner
Institute of Health and Care Sciences

Financier
The Swedish National Board of Institutional Care Research Fund, Sahlgrenska Academy

Short description

In the special youth homes run by the Swedish National Board of Institutional Care (SiS), young people are cared for in accordance with the Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act (LVU) and the Act on the Enforcement of Closed Youth Care (LSU). The young people's problems are often multifaceted and consist of a complex web of personal and home and environment-related factors. Being cared for at SiS means being cared for without consent under duress.

Being cared for at SiS means being cared for without consent under duress. What distinguishes SiS from other forms of care is the staff's access to so-called special eligibilities, which, for example, means using isolating measures in the event of threats and violence. All in all, this means a complex care environment that must balance care, treatment, safety, social protection, a good work environment and children's rights. Research on the care environment at the special youth homes is both a new and important field of research.

More about the project 

Research shows that the environment plays a role in rehabilitation and treatment, both directly through how the environment is designed and indirectly, through the symbols and the meaning conveyed by the environment.


Previous research on the importance of the environment for young people who are cared for in locked institutions is, however, very limited. Instead, knowledge has previously been obtained from other fields such as somatic and psychiatric care and forensic psychiatry.

The current research project studies both the direct physical aspects of the environment and how these affect the treatment of young people, but also the psychosocial aspects and interactions between people in the environment. The young people's lived experiences of the institutional environment are at the center, as are the staff's experiences of working in a locked care environment. The purpose of the project is to investigate the importance of the physical and socio-spatial (intertwined physical and social) environment for the rehabilitation and treatment of young people who are cared for in the special youth homes.

As research on the care environment at the special youth homes is new, method development is also included as part of the research project. The project uses, for example, ethnographic methods that combine images and sketching, with interviews, to make it easier for young people to express their thoughts and feelings about the environment. Other methods used within the project are focus group interviews and register and questionnaire studies, as well as categorization of the physical environment from an architectural perspective. Ethical aspects of research with children and young people who are cared for under duress is an important and high-priority issue within the project.

Researchers

Helle Wijk, Research group leader, the Institute of Health and Care Sciences

Sepideh Olausson, Researcher, the Institute of Health and Care Sciences

Göran Lindahl, researcher Chalmers university of technology 

Charlotta Thodelius, researcher Chalmers university of technology 

Stefan Lundin, architect, White Arkitekter

Franz James, PhD candidate at HDK-Valand - Academy of Art and Design

Kajsa Nolbeck, PhD candidate at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences

Publications

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2018) Designing for care: employing ethnographic design methods at special care homes for young offenders – a pilot study, Routledge; Design for Health, 02 January 2018, Vol.2(1), p.127-141

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24735132.2018.1456783

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2018) “Fit and Re-Orientation” – Unpacking layers of carceral design heritage in contemporary design of special care homes for youth, and its impact on well-being, presenterad i dec på 3rd International Conference for Carceral Geography, 2018, University of Liverpool

https://gup.ub.gu.se/publication/288753

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2018) “Fit and Re-Orientation” – Unpacking layers of carceral design heritage in contemporary design of special care homes for youth, and its impact on well-being, DIMH, Maj UK 2018

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2018) “Fit and Re-Orientation” – Unpacking layers of carceral design heritage in contemporary design of special care homes for youth, and its impact on well-being, Centre for critical Heritage studies 11 Juni Göteborg CCHS, 2018

Nolbeck, K., Wijk, H.,  Lindahl, G. Olausson, S. (2019)’ ‘If you don’t behave, you’re in real shit, you don’t get outside the doors’—a phenomenological hermeneutic study of adolescents’ lived experiences of the socio-spatial environment of involuntary institutional care’. International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being, 01 January 2020, Vol.15(1)

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482631.2020.1726559

Nolbeck, K., James, F., Lindahl, G., Lundin, S., Olausson, S.,Thodelius, C., Wijk, H. (2019). Ethical challenges conducting research in environments for incarcerated children and adolescents. Presenterad i samband med ARCH 19 i Trondheim- Norge 12-14 Juni 2019

https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/207965

Nolbeck, K. och Thodelius, C. (2019). Ungdomshemmens fysiska miljö till stöd

för ungdomars hälsa och välbefinnande – en negligerad forskningsfråga. Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, Vol 96, Nr 6.

https://socialmedicinsktidskrift.se/smt/index.php/smt/article/view/1999/2001

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2021). ‘Fit and Re-Orientation’: Carceral Heritage in Contemporary Design of Special Residential Homes  for  Youth, and Its Impact on Well-Being. Chapter 10. Brill journals: Heritage, Space and Well-Being. (kommande publikation)

Franz J. och Olausson, S. (2019) How carceral design ‘Fits’ –Unpacking layers of carceral heritage from the contemporary design of special care homes for youth. (kommande publikation)

Björk, M., Thodelius, C. & Nolbeck, K. (2019) Fragmentation in total institutions: Observation on Regulatory practice and risk management. Risk management for Innovation, 5th SAR Nordic Conference. Copenhagen, Denmark. November 2019

James, F. och Olausson, S. (2019) “I’m used to it” - Carceral Heritage and Design, its impact on Wellbeing for Incarcerated Children and Adolescents in Special Residential Youth Homes (SiS) in Sweden. KRUS, 2019

Nolbeck, K., Olausson, S., Lindahl, G., Wijk, H. (2019) Vårdmiljön för barn under tvångsvård – en fråga om rättigheter och etik. Upplägg och resultat från forskningsprojekt om vårdmiljön på SiS ungdomshem. Barnrättsdagarna, April 2019

Nolbeck, K., Olausson, S., Lindahl, G., Wijk, H., Thodelius, C. (2020) Vem kommer till SiS och vem kommer ut? Preliminära resultat från en kvantitativ studie av ungdomarna på SiS särskilda ungdomshem 2006 - 2016 Barnrättsdagarna, November 2020

 James, F. och Olausson, S. (2019) Design in Mental Health, Coventry, 2019