Exploration of elderly residents' care needs in a Taiwanese nursing home : an ethnographic study

Chuang, Yeu-Hui (2007) Exploration of elderly residents' care needs in a Taiwanese nursing home : an ethnographic study. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study has explored the culture of nursing home life as experienced by elderly nursing home residents in Taiwan in order to understand, describe and interpret their care needs. In December 2006, the elderly represented 10% of the total population of Taiwan, and this proportion is predicted to increase steadily. In turn, this increase suggested that Taiwan would see ever greater numbers of elderly people with chronic illnesses and physical and mental disabilities. To care for these people, nursing homes have expanded rapidly throughout Taiwan. However, the quality of care provided in these nursing homes has become an urgent matter of concern. Though meeting the residents' care needs is essential for the provision of the best quality care, a review of the available literature shows that the care needs of the elderly residents within the nursing home context are poorly understood, both in Taiwan and internationally.

To address this gap in present understanding, a focused ethnographic approach, using participant observation, in-depth interviews and a review of documents, was undertaken between July 2005 and February 2006. The key participants were sixteen elderly residents who were 65 years old and over, had no cognitive impairment and had lived in the nursing home selected for the present study for at least six months.

Eight nurses, six nursing assistants, one private nursing assistant, one orderly, one physician's assistant and four family members were also interviewed, with questions put to them being based on the data generated from the observation and in-depth interviews with the elderly residents. All interviews were recorded on a digital recorder and transcribed verbatim. Following this, the data gathered from the in-depth interviews, the participant observation and the review of documents was sorted and indexed using the qualitative software program, NVivo7. A five-step analytic process, based on concepts discussed in previous literature, was used to trace the emerging themes.

Nine major care needs were identified by the elderly residents. These included basic functional care needs, emotional support care needs, economic care needs, psychological care needs, environmental care needs, social support care needs, professional care needs, religious care needs and preparation for death care needs.

Three themes of nursing home culture were generated; these were collective life, care rituals and embedded beliefs. The findings of the study indicate that the structure and culture of the nursing home contribute to several care needs remaining unmet. In addition, the results reveal that it is necessary to satisfy economic care needs before other care needs can be resolved.

These findings fill an important gap in nursing knowledge regarding the delivery of better quality care in nursing homes. They also provide relevant information to nursing practice, nursing education and Taiwanese long-term care policy-making, and provide a sound basis for future residential care research.

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ID Code: 16470
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Abbey, Jennifer & Elder, Ruth
Keywords: care needs; culture; nursing home; aged care; long-term care; elderly residents; ethnography; focused ethnography; Taiwan
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Department: Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Yeu-Hui Chuang
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:04
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:48

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