Exploration of the meaning of connectedness for older people in long-term care in context of their quality of life: a review and commentary

Authors

  • Adeline Cooney BNS, MMedSc, RGN, RNT, PhD,

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    1. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Galway, Ireland
    • Correspondence:

      Adeline Cooney

      National University of Ireland, Galway

      School of Nursing and Midwifery

      Aras Moyola, Newcastle Road

      Galway

      Ireland

      Telephone: +353 91 493580

      E-mail: adeline.cooney@nuigalway.ie

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  • Maura Dowling BNS, MSc, RGN, RNT, PhD,

    Lecturer
    1. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Galway, Ireland
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  • Mary E. Gannon MHSc, HDip, RGN,

    Clinical Link Facilitator
    1. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Galway, Ireland
    2. the Nursing and Midwifery Planning Development Unit, Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway, Ireland
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  • Laura Dempsey BNS, MSc, PGD, RGN, RNT,

    Lecturer
    1. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Galway, Ireland
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  • Kathy Murphy BA, MSc, RGN, RNT, PhD

    Professor of Nursing
    1. National University of Ireland Galway, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Galway, Ireland
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Abstract

Background

A link between ‘quality of life’ and ‘connectedness’ is emerging in the literature. However, there has been little debate on what ‘connectedness’ means and how it can be fostered in long-term care settings. This review examines the meaning of ‘connectedness’ in long-term care.

Aim

This paper critically examines the meaning of ‘connectedness’ in the context of its contribution to the quality of life of older people living in long-term care settings.

Method

Key databases (CINAHL, PsychInfo and Medline) were searched systematically. Fourteen papers and two book chapters met the inclusion criterion of papers exploring ‘connectedness for older people in residential care’.

Conclusions

The experience of connectedness for older people in long-term care settings is linked with quality of life and successful ageing. Fundamental prerequisites of connectedness for older people are: self-awareness, meaningful relationships with family and friends, involvement in meaningful activities and connections with wider society. However, barriers to these prerequisites are evident for many residents in long-term care settings.

Implications for practice

Register and Herman (Advances in Nursing Science, 33, 2010, 53) identify six connections that combine to generate connectedness for older people. These connections are representative of the factors associated with increased quality of life for residents living in long-term care settings. The six connections are helpful in identifying areas to focus on when planning person-centred care.

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