Feeling at home in nursing homes
Aim. The purpose of this study was to examine determinants of feeling at home and in particular the privacy in nursing homes in The Netherlands. The first question was to what extent nursing homes differed in the degree residents feel at home and experience privacy. The second question was whether feeling at home is related to privacy in the nursing homes.
Background. Feeling at home is of particular importance to residents of nursing homes because the average length of stay in The Netherlands is about 16 months. A growing number of people are of the opinion that the privacy of the residents has to be improved. Privacy in nursing homes, therefore, has been high on the political agenda over the last few years. Four aspects of privacy were distinguished: privacy related to the characteristics of the building, privacy as a consequence of the attitude of nurses towards residents, privacy in terms of choice and control over time schedules and activities, and privacy related to the amount of disturbance caused by other residents.
Design. The data were collected from individual interviews with 686 residents and family-members in 36 nursing homes in The Netherlands.
Results. Following quantitative data analysis, it was found that nursing homes differed in the proportion of residents feeling at home as well as in three aspects of privacy. Differences in feeling at home were found to be related to privacy, especially to the perceived attitudes of nurses and perceived disturbance caused by other residents. A weak relationship was found between residents and their perceived privacy of the building.
Conclusions. A significant amount of variation in privacy was found at the nursing home level. This implies that feeling at home is not only individually determined but can be influenced by the nursing home’s management policy.