Nursing home care: exploring the role of religiousness in the mental health, quality of life and stress of formal caregivers

Authors


  • No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.
  • This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Abstract

Accessible summary

  • Religion and spirituality have been associated with the caregiver's sense of well-being and ability to cope, quality of life, and feelings of burden. Despite the large number of studies on family/informal caregivers, there are only few studies that have focused on the impact of religiosity on formal caregivers.
  • Paid caregivers (NA) have a strong sense of religiousness, which plays an important role in many ways, including the type of care they provide, their mental health and their quality of life.
  • Most NA have prayed for their patients, demonstrating the strong interface between religion (and religious beliefs) and health care.
  • Medical and nursing managers might consider these relationships in order to optimize the support they provide to NA staff and patients.

Abstract

Despite the high number of studies on family caregivers, there is little research on the impact of religiosity on formal caregiving (paid providers). We examine the role of religiousness in the mental health, quality of life and stress of nurse aides (NA) who provide care for patients in a nursing home. NA in a Brazilian nursing home were invited to participate. Because of its coping function, we hypothesized that religiousness was related to better mental health and quality of life. Linear regression was used to test this hypothesis and control for confounders. Compared with the Brazilian general population, NA scored higher on measures of religious involvement. Intrinsic religiosity was associated with better mental health and quality of life. Organizational religiosity was associated with better social functioning, better general mental health and fewer anxiety symptoms. Non-organizational religiosity (prayer), however, was associated with negative outcomes, such as higher stress, poorer general health perceptions and more anxiety symptoms. Most NA indicated that they had prayed for and with their patients. In conclusion, paid caregivers (NA) have a strong sense of religiousness, which plays an important role in many ways, including the type of care they provide, their mental health and their quality of life.

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