An examination of quality of care in Norwegian nursing homes – a change to more activities?

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Abstract

Background:

Studies on Norwegian nursing homes have shown that the general care is at a relatively high level, while the level of physical and social activities is relatively low. As a response to these findings, the Norwegian government has stressed the importance of activities in various white papers and circulars and, in recent years, has launched several campaigns specifically aimed at increasing the level of activities.

Aim:

The aim of the study was to examine the following: (i) how the government has succeeded in increasing the level of physical and social activities in Norwegian nursing homes; (ii) how the level of activities compares to the general care; and (iii) how the level of activities and the general care are influenced by the following facility characteristics: residents' mobility level, total staffing levels, ratio of RNs, ratio of unlicensed staff and ward size.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey of forty nursing home wards throughout Norway was used to collect the data.

Results:

On a scale ranging from 1 to 7, the staff members assess the activity dimension to be 4.31 and the general care dimension to be 5.66. The activity dimension was significantly negatively correlated with the ratio of unlicensed staff, the ratio of Registered Nurses and the residents' mobility level, while the general care dimension was significantly negatively correlated with the ratio of unlicensed staff.

Conclusion:

The study shows that the level of physical and social activities offered to the residents is relatively low, while the general care level is significantly higher, in line with earlier studies. Consequently, the government has not succeeded with its current policy to increase the level of activities in nursing homes. The relationship between the two quality dimensions and the explanatory variables shows that nursing home quality is a complicated phenomenon.

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