Quality of life for older persons living in nursing homes: A cross-sectional study

Mun Yee Mimi Tse, Vanessa Wan

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Background: Given the increasingly ageing population ad the impact of diseases and disabilities during the ageing process, the need of older persons for some form of alternative accommodation and residential care facilities is expected to rise. The Hong Kong Association of Gerontology (2004) estimates that 5.5% of people aged 65 or older need institutionalized care for their later life. Aim: To explore quality of life among older persons living in nursing homes Method: This was an exploratory cross-sectional study. Six nursing homes were approached and 365 older persons invited to join the study. A questionnaire was administered to them to collect information on their demographic data, bowel habits and pain situation. We also investigated their physical function (assessed using Barthel ADL Scores and Elderly Mobility Scores) and psychological condition, including life satisfaction, depression, happiness and loneliness (using the Life Satisfaction, Geriatric Depression, Happiness and UCLA Loneliness Scales). Results: There were 365 older nursing home residents (248 female and 117 male, mean age 84.7 ± 6.73) in the study, of whom 249 (70%) suffered from pain, mean pain scores of 4.55 indicating medium pain intensity. The location of pain was mainly in the knee, back and shoulder, possibly affecting the older persons' physical function and psychological health. Those with mildly limited physical function had Barthel ADL Scores of 16.55 ± 4.75 (mostly those with difficulty bathing and climbing stairs) and Elderly Mobility Scores of 14.55 ± 5.69 (difficulty walking 6 meters and functional reaching). As for their psychological health, they scored low life satisfaction 8.81 ± 4.05, mild depression 6.92 ± 3.93, fair happiness 17.70 ± 6.09, and moderate loneliness 42.83 ± 12.34. In addition, the correlation between the demographic data and the psychological parameters was tested: there was a weak positive correlation between age and depression, and weak negative correlations between gender and happiness (male older residents felt happier) and pain and depression (elderly people with pain felt more depressed than the group with no pain). Conclusions and relevance to clinical practice: Overall, older persons suffer from moderate to severe physical and psychological impairment in nursing homes. Nurses and other healthcare professionals should encourage them to engage in various interventions to minimize these problems and enhance their quality of life at the end of their life journey.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalliative and Nursing Home Care
Subtitle of host publicationPolicies, Challenges and Quality of Life
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781611224177
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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