Busy doing nothing: activity and interaction levels amongst differing populations of elderly patients

Authors

  • Mike Nolan BEd MA MSc PhD RGN RMN FRSH,

    1. Professor of Nursing, Department of Health Care for Elderly People, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, England
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  • Gordon Grant BSc MSc PhD,

    1. Director, Centre for Social Policy Research and Development, University of Wales and
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  • Janet Nolan CertEd, BA, MEd, RGN, RHV

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer in Nursing Studies, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, University of Wales, Bangor, Wales
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Professor M Nolan Department of Health Care for Elderly People Community Sciences Centre Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU England

Abstract

This paper considers the activity and interaction levels amongst three differing populations of elderly patients (long-stay, short-stay and respite) It begins with a consideration of the literature on staff-patient interactions in care environments for elderly patients, highlighting the virtual absence of planned, purposeful activity Data are then presented which suggest that, despite the emphasis nurses place on communicating with their patients, many patients continue to spend most of their time inactive It is suggested that if the quality of care elderly patients receive is to improve, nursing staff must see the provision of activity as an integral part of their role and function

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