Aim. This study explored the lived experiences of older nursing home residents in Taiwan.
Background. With more long-term care institutions in Taiwan, older people are more often placed in nursing homes than in the past. Increased understanding of their lived experience is essential to assess residents’ needs and determine the effectiveness of nursing interventions.
Design. A qualitative design was used to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of older nursing home residents in Taiwan.
Methods. Focus groups, followed by in-depth interviews, were used to gather information from 33 older residents at eight nursing homes in northern Taiwan. Participants were asked to describe what was important to them and what impressed them most in their daily lives in the nursing home. Participants (24 females and nine males) were on an average 75·3 years old. Verbatim transcripts of audiotaped focus groups and interviews were analysed by thematic analysis via ATLAS.ti software.
Results. The core theme of older residents’ nursing home experience was ‘a temporary home to nurture health’. This core theme was reflected in participants’ descriptions of their overall life in the nursing home as a temporary experience to nurture their health. Their everyday experience was characterised by four subthemes: highly structured lifestyle, restricted activities, safety concerns and social interactions.
Relevance to clinical practice. Our findings may enhance policy makers’ and healthcare providers’ understanding of the lived experience of older nursing home residents, thus guiding the evaluation and development of nursing home services to improve residents’ lives. For example, residents with the same characteristics could be placed in the same room or same floor, thus increasing their interactions with other residents. Residents’ interactions with family members could also be developed using the Internet or mobile telephones.