Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Residents who thrive in nursing homes

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

We tend to hold negative perceptions of nursing homes and, generally, envisage them as places where older people go simply to die and where there is little hope for them. However, this is not always the case; some older people thrive in nursing homes as this study from Sweden by Patomella et al. (2016) titled: 'Characteristics of residents who thrive in nursing home environments: a cross-sectional study' and published in JAN shows.

The aim of the study was to: 'describe what characterizes residents with higher levels compared with
those with lower levels of thriving in nursing homes using the Thriving of Older People Assessment Scale.'  The study involved 191 older people in one large Swedish nursing home.  They were divided into those with higher and those with lower scores on the thriving scale. Gender and age had no influence on thriving but, as explained by the authors: 'the characteristics of residents reported to have higher levels of thriving in relation to those with lower levels of thriving, it was found that residents with higher levels of thriving were more independent in their ADLs (activities of daily living), had a higher quality of life and had less psychological and behavioural symptoms.'

The authors conclude: 'The study show that independence in ADL, higher quality of life, shorter lengths of stay, ability to walk and spend time outdoors are potential characteristics of residents who thrive in nursing home environments. The study contributes to existing knowledge by showing that the experience of thriving in nursing homes seems to be related to residents’ level of functioning and thereby their possibilities to have a varied everyday life in the nursing home. The findings also contribute by highlighting the characteristics of residents with lower levels of thriving. The findings have some clinical implications. The results can be used by nursing home staff to identify residents in risk of not thriving and also be used to initiate interventions such as outside walks, everyday activities, etc. that can improve the level of thriving in residents.

You can also listen to this as a podcast.


PATOMELLA A.-H., SANDMAN P.-O., BERGLAND A. & EDVARDSSON D. (2016) Characteristics of residents who thrive in nursing home environments: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12991

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