The Perceptions of Nursing Team Caring Behaviors Among Residents of an Assisted Living Facility for Retired Veterans
The dramatic growth in the population of individuals over age 65 and the increase in longevity of life due to advances in technology have resulted in a stunning increase in the number of older adults in the United States. Simultaneous with this change is a decrease in the ability of others to properly sustain this aging population. Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) have emerged as an option for residential long-term care of this increasing population and promise their residents a sense of autonomy and independence. There is concern that such promises cannot be met as residents with increasingly complex conditions strive to age in place, but are cared for by paraprofessional staff. The impact of caring behaviors has become linked to quality of care and quality of life. It is appropriate to examine the perceptions of residents of ALFs regarding caring behaviors in order to help identify best practices to attempt to fulfill these promises. The purpose of this study was to identify nursing team caring behaviors as perceived by residents of an ALF for retired veterans and to more fully understand these behaviors by gathering qualitative data to elaborate upon the quantitative findings. This descriptive study utilized Watson's Caring Attending Nurse Model for a framework and methodological triangulation to examine the data. Three tools were used to explore the perceptions of 51 ALF residents over the age of 65 years. The Caring Behaviors Inventory Tool for Elders (CBI-E), (Wolf, 2006), was the quantitative tool and formed the basis for the Focused Interview Guide used to elicit qualitative feedback from 16 residents who agreed to additional questioning. Descriptive statistics were used to examine demographic data and CBI-E results. Content analysis was utilized to explore the qualitative responses. Two patterns emerged: "The Good Nurse" supported an individual's sense of integrity while "The Non-Attending Nurse" was perceived as lacking an individualized understanding of the person, thus undermining their dignity. This study examined perceptions of caring behaviors within an ALF. With a residential base of one million residents and growing, this is a segment of society most deserving of our attention.
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