Non-capable residents: Is the experience of dependence understood in nursing homes? A qualitative study

Authors

  • Domingo Palacios-Ceña,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nursing, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
    • Correspondence: Professor Domingo Palacios Ceña PhD, Despacho 1008. Departamental II. Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. Avenida de Atenas s/n. 28922. Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain. Email: domingo.palacios@urjc.es

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  • Cristina Gómez-Calero,

    1. Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
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  • José Miguel Cachón-Pérez,

    1. Division of Nursing, Madrid Health Services, Madrid, Spain
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  • Miguel Brea-Rivero,

    1. Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
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  • Daniel Gómez-Pérez,

    1. Division of Nursing, Madrid Health Services, Madrid, Spain
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  • César Fernández-de-las-Peñas

    1. Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
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Abstract

Objective 

The aim of the present study was to describe how dependence was experienced by Spanish nursing home residents with functional limitations.

Methods 

A qualitative phenomenological approach was followed. An initial purposeful sampling of Spanish residents in for-profit nursing homes in the southern area of Madrid was carried out. Theoretical sampling was also implemented in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of dependence. The inclusion criteria for nursing home residents were: aged 60 years old or older, having a functional impairment (Barthel Index <90), and lack of any cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination-Folstein >19) and able to communicate verbally in Spanish. Data were collected using unstructured and semi-structured interviews. The interviews were tape recorded and fully transcribed. Data collection was concluded once theoretical saturation was reached, and the data were analyzed using the Giorgi proposal.

Results 

A total of 30 residents (15 female and 15 male) with a mean age of 83 years were included. Two main themes that describe the significance of dependence in nursing homes emerged from the data: (i) remaining “capable”, with one subtheme named “building the difference”, where residents described their own dependence classification of “non-capable” residents; and (ii) “sharing life”, with two subthemes named “living together with non-capable residents” and “sharing the environment”. Being considered as “non-capable” is labelling the resident forever.

Conclusions 

The dependence experience of Spanish nursing home residents might help us gain a deeper insight into their expectations about functional limitations, as well as to understand the change in the relationship between residents considered “non-capable”, caregivers and the other residents. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2014; 14: 212–219.

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