Residents with mild cognitive decline and family members report health students 'enhance capacity of care' and bring 'a new breath of life' in two aged care facilities in Tasmania

Kate Ellen J. Elliott, Michael J. Annear, Erica J. Bell, Andrew J. Palmer, Andrew L. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Care provided by student doctors and nurses is well received by patients in hospital and primary care settings. Whether the same is true for aged care residents of nursing homes with mild cognitive decline and their family members is unknown. Objective: To investigate the perspectives of aged care residents with mild cognitive decline and their family members on interdisciplinary student placements in two residential aged care facilities (RACF) in Tasmania. Design, setting and participants: A mixed methods design was employed with both qualitative and quantitative data collected. All participants were interviewed and completed a questionnaire on residents' quality of life, during or after a period of student placements in each facility (October-November, 2012). Qualitative data were coded for themes following a grounded theory approach, and quantitative data were analysed using SPSS. Results: Twenty-one participants (13 residents and 8 family members) were recruited. Four themes were identified from the qualitative data and included (i) increased social interaction and facility vibrancy; (ii) community service and personal development, (iii) vulnerability and sensitivity (learning to care) and (iv) increased capacity and the confidence of enhanced care. Residents' quality of life was reported to be mostly good in the presence of the students, despite their high care needs. Conclusion: Residents with mild cognitive decline and their family members perceive a wide array of benefits of student provided care in RACFs including increased social interaction. Future quantitative research should focus on whether changes in care occur for residents as a result of student involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1927-1940
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Expectations
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Health services research
  • Mild cognitive decline
  • Older adults
  • Quality of life
  • Residential aged care
  • Social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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