Conference Abstracts

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Quality of life as a critical nursing issue in long-term care

McDonald, T. A., 2009

ICN Quadrennial Congress, Durban, South Africa


Background: Functional decline in physically frail, elderly persons with substantial morbidity is assumed to be a major determinant of quality of life. Nursing roles in this context co-ordinate the various therapies, treatments, social activities and daily routine and are best placed to see that these elements contribute to rather than detract from the life quality experienced by residents.

Objective: To investigates if a combination of care, nursing and therapy programs can stave off the effects on life quality of physical degeneration and maintain quality of life among older adults in long-term residential care

Methods: In this longitudinal study, baseline physical and quality of life data collected from June 2005 to September 2008 (and ongoing) at a large long-term care facility form the basis of this study. Physical capacity variables include: Sit to stand; Walk; Get up and go; Side steps, and are repeated every 3 months for the same participants. In addition, simultaneous measures of residents’ quality of life using the LTC-QoL (© T, McDonald) to record social activity, self-efficacy, supportive relationships, outlook and security.

Results: Each participating care unit found similar quality of life measures with some variation between highest and lowest scores. Overall improvement on functional measures for each unit was compared with average quality of life measures for comparison. Only participants with both functional measures and quality of life measures were included. Results show that even with large variations in overall function, quality of life measures remain constant.

Conclusions: A cohesive approach with care, nursing, medicine and allied health therapies provides a basis upon which quality of life can be maintained despite changes in health status. Quality of life and physical function can be monitored on older people with a range of health and other issues to determine whether quality of life is being maintained or improved despite declining function.

CITATION McDonald T. (2009) Quality of life as a critical nursing issue in long-term care International Council of Nurses (ICN), 24th Quadrennial Congress, Durban South Africa. 27 June-4 July.


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