Aims and objectives. The purpose of this study was to use group integrative reminiscence as a nursing intervention to evaluate the immediate effects on self-esteem, life satisfaction and depressive symptoms for a special group named ‘institutionalised older veterans’ after a 12-week intervention.
Background. The study group comprised institutionalised older veterans with combat experience, including being wounded in war and who were twice forced to relocate. The group participants had lower life satisfaction, and greater use for mental health services and greater non-specific health complaints were reported from this group. Reminiscence therapy has been considered an effective nursing intervention, but the effects on institutionalised older veterans have not been studied.
Design. A quasi-experimental design and purposive sampling were conducted.
Methods. A total of 74 participants were studied with pre- and post-tests to measure the effect of group integrative reminiscence therapy. The activity was held once weekly for 12 weeks. The Life Satisfaction Index A, self-esteem scale and Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form were used as research tools, and the t-test, Fisher’s exact test and generalised estimating equation were used for data analysis.
Results. All participants were male, with an average age of 81·34 years old, 91·9% unmarried and were in bad health. After 12 weeks of intervention, the reminiscence groups significantly improved their self-esteem and life satisfaction and decreased depressive symptoms compared with control groups.
Conclusion. Group integrative reminiscence revealed immediate effects on improving the self-esteem and life satisfaction of institutionalised older veterans, and depressive symptoms were also decreased. Moreover, a sense of positive self-value and belonging to the institution was produced.
Relevance to clinical practice. Group integrative reminiscence is an applicable nursing intervention for vulnerable persons such as institutionalised older veterans. A structured protocol based on the characteristics of the residents and the aim of the intervention can lead nurses to provide appropriate reminiscent activities.