[APG Public List] Nursing homes

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Mon Sep 27 12:18:48 MDT 2010

Jeanette and Jacqueline,  that used to be what nursing homes meant in Canada 
too (Ontario at least).  Then they began to be used for short and long term 
convalescent care.  Now they're used to warehouse people suffering from 
mental illnesses who were sent there from a mainstream hospital emergency 
room.  So the elderly in their final weeks and months have a very mixed bag 
of fellow immates, some of whom are very violent.

So a Canadian or American researcher (who sees the term as referring to 
geriatric pallitive care) reading "born in a nursing home" would raise their 
eyebrows (though given what's been the news as to 'aged' mothers, maybe 
not!).  It does show that you can't take for granted what's implied by even 
a common phrase.  I add a note explaining the difference when dealing with 
US clients.  I

But I'm still interested in the history of the term 'nursing home' and how 
it became two completely different concepts
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jacqueline Wilson
  To: APG Posting
  Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:20 AM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Nursing homes

  Larry, I do not know the origin of the name or when the US version became 
what it is now.  Bur in the States, it is basically an old folks home where 
people go who have no other place to go at the end of their lives and have 
no one to care for them or for people who need rehab.  Now days, a place to 
give birth here is called a "birthing center"  and a place  for unwed 
mothers (usually teenagers or very young) is called a "home for girls" or 
wayward girls in some cases.

  It would be interesting to check the OED to see how they define it over 
the years.  I do not have a subscription or I would.

  On Sep 27, 2010, at 8:51 AM, LBoswell wrote:

  In the UK and Ireland, the term 'nursing home' is often used to mean 
'maternity home' or 'birth home'.  Not sure if that was the case in Canada 
or the US.   So and so 'born in nursing home'.

  What I'm wondering is what is the origin of the phrase 'nursing home'? 
Was it orginally used in the sense of a maternity/birth home as was commonly 
the case in the UK/Ireland?  Interesting, because you could take the term 
'nursing' two different directions.  Nursing someone  through illness or  in 
the final stages of old age.  Or nursing as in caring for, nourishing an 

  Or did the phrase 'nursing home' evolve from different roots in the UK 
then it did here?  Were maternity homes, homes for unwed mothers ever called 
'nursing homes' in the US/CDA?    Should be noted that the UK 'nursing 
homes' aren't specifically for unwed mothers, probably most women going to 
them would have been married.

  (just had a few "born in a nursing home" mentions, so got to thinking 
about the origin of the phrase)


  Jacqueline Wilson
  Evanston, IL

  Masters Student,  Dept. US Military History
  American Military University

  wilssearch at gmail.com

  Professional Indexer, Historian, and Genealogist
  Deputy Sheriff for Publications of the Chicago Corral of the Westerners
  IASPR Newsletter Editor

  "Wilssearch - your service of choice for the indexing challenged 

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