The Fate & Welfare of Nursing Home Residents: Towards A Holistic Psychosocial Care Problem Statement The rise in aging population has increased the demand for nursing home residential facilities. These institutions have become places of continuing care and treatment that is largely centered on biomedical model in which efficiency, consistency and standardized decision-making are of great value (Brownie & Nancarrow, 2013)…
As cited by Roos & Malan (2012), loneliness can hasten the deterioration of a person’s health due to its effect on the immune system which consequently influences mental and physical health. This is further illustrated in the study of Fossey, Ballard, Juszczak, James, Alder, Jacoby & Howard (2006), wherein they found out that organic problems such dementia can be cured by psychosocial care as an alternative to antipsychotics. In a study by Krauss & Attman (2004), it was found that around two-thirds of the nursing home residents suffer from significant depressive symptoms. Given this, attending to the residents’ welfare and quality of life should extend beyond just medical care but towards psychosocial care which focuses on social, mental and emotional needs of residents (as cited in Galambos, Zlotnik, Bern-Klug & Zimmerman, 2009). For this reason, emerging approaches to nursing home care have leaned towards a more holistic approach to care by addressing the psychosocial aspect of nursing care. According to a report published by Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR) in 2005, the psychosocial approach to care deals with a constellation of social and emotional needs and the care given to meet these needs. Mental and behavioral problems common among the aged such as dementia, depression, and anxiety stem from inevitable social consequences of old age which mainly center on multiple losses both of abilities and personal relationships (Roos & Malan, 2012). Being placed in the institution itself deprives old people from personal contact with significant social networks (Roos & Malan, 2012). Addressing the psychosocial needs of nursing home residents is now being acknowledged as a fundamental component of care such that even the Minimum Data Set (MDS), which is a national mandated screening tool for implementing care in nursing homes, has been modified in its 2010 version to encourage better evaluation of residents’ psychosocial needs and health (Zimmerman, Connolly, Zlotnik, Bern-Klug & Cohen, 2012). However, despite the existence of laws that govern nursing home care, issues persist regarding the quality of care, which include psychosocial care, and the quality of life of old people in nursing home institutions (IASWR, 2005). As cited in the report of IASWR, 39% of the resident charts do not contain enough plans while 46% contain plans but were not implemented. This was also further proven by the investigation conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2003 mentioned in the study of Gumbos et al. (2009), in which it was found that nursing home residents did not receive all of the psychosocial services they needed; worse, some did not receive any service at all. It appears that the psychosocial needs of nursing home residents are still not being properly accounted for due to the inadequacy of health service provisions. The study of Roos & Malan (2012) explored the psychosocial problems that nursing home residents encounter within the institution. Participants in the said study described relationships within the nursing home facility as unsafe for forming personal ...
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