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Keywords:

  • cognitive impairment;
  • motivation;
  • nursing home;
  • older adult;
  • restorative care

Nursing home residents with dementia represent a majority of the most functionally impaired individuals residing in nursing homes. Although many perceive this population as having little restorative potential, maintaining resident functional abilities for as long as possible helps to optimize quality of life and decrease caregiver burden. This study used a qualitative design with a focus group methodology to explore facilitators and barriers to engaging cognitively impaired residents in functional activities and exercise. A purposive sample of seven geriatric nursing assistants who were experts in dementia care participated in the study. Twenty-seven codes were reduced to three themes: (i) knowing what makes them tick and move; (ii) teamwork and utilizing resources; and (iii) barriers to restorative care. The study findings were used to revise the Restorative Care for the Cognitively Impaired Intervention and could direct future implementation of programmes in nursing home settings.