Quality of life of older people in residential care home: a literature review

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Abstract

lee dtf, yu dsf & kwong anl (2009) Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness1, 116–125

Quality of life of older people in residential care home: a literature review

Aim.

To integrate the research evidence on quality of life of older people living in a residential care home setting.

Background.

Residential care is provided for older people who are unable to live in their own home due to various health and social reasons. A number of studies have been published that have focused on diverse quality of life issues of residential care home elders. Consolidating the evidence from these studies may provide insights into enhancing quality of life of this particular group of older people.

Design.

A literature review of research evidence on quality of life issues among residential care home elders.

Method.

A systematic search of the literature published between 1994–January 2008 was undertaken to identify research evidence on quality of life of older people living in residential care home. Information about the study design, research objectives, study setting, sample characteristics, and key findings were extracted for comparison and integration. Three aspects about quality of life of the residential care home elders were identified: views of residential care home elders on quality of life, factors affecting quality of life of residential care home elders and methods to improve quality of life in residential care home elders.

Results.

Eighteen publications were identified. Older people perceived their ability to maintain independence, autonomy and individuality as the most important criteria for determining quality of life. Interventions designed to improve quality of life of older people living in residential facilities corresponded to these criteria. A range of interventions including a walking program, mental stimulation and environmental modification were proposed and evaluated to improve quality of life of residential care home elders. Among these interventions, environmental modification that targeted at improving the residential care homes and quality of services appears to be promising.

Conclusion.

Quality of life in residential care home elders is a complex issue that may be determined by the elders' independence, individuality and autonomy, and influenced by quality of residential care and facilities. Environmental modification appears to be a way to improve the quality of life of residential care home elders.

Relevance to clinical practice.

The knowledge of understanding quality of life of residential care home elders provides insights into the implementation of appropriate residential care services. Programs that aim to de-institutionalise the residential care home settings are important to the enhancement of residential care services.

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