The lived experience of being dignified for elderly Chinese residents in a private nursing home in Hong Kong

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The lived experience of being dignified for elderly Chinese residents in a private nursing home in Hong Kong

 

Author: Tiu, Mei-ha
Title: The lived experience of being dignified for elderly Chinese residents in a private nursing home in Hong Kong
Degree: D.H.Sc.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Older people -- Nursing home care -- China -- Hong Kong
Older people -- Services for -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Pages: 248 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2354997
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5719
Abstract: With an increasingly aging population in Hong Kong, the demand of nursing home care increases proportionally. In Hong Kong, private nursing homes are the major service providers of residential services for the elders. According to Social Welfare Department (2009), the mission of elderly services is to enable the elders to live in dignity and to provide necessary support for them to promote their sense of belonging, sense of security, and sense of worthiness. As little is known about the meaning of dignity for residents in private nursing homes, this hermeneutic phenomenological study was designed to examine their experience ofbeing dignified in this context. This study sought to understand the lived experience of being dignified for the elderly Chinese residents in a private nursing home in Hong Kong. It also aimed to identify the dignity-conserving practices used by the residents in coping with their situation. In addition. it aimed to explore the situated possibilities, health and caring activities. and practices that constitute - and are constitutive of - the elderly residents' perspective on maintaining dignity in a nursing home. A purposive sampling strategy was used to select the sample of fourteen residents, ranging in age from 65 to 93, who participated in this study. Their years of living in nursing homes ranged from two to ten years. In-depth, unstructured interviews, which were conducted in the private nursing home, were used to generate the data. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and then analyzed using van Manen's (1990) phenomenological method of qualitative research. This method allowed the researcher and the residents to mutually commit to describe and interpret the phenomenon being studied. With the guidance of the lifeworld existentials of spatiality, corporeality, temporality, and relationality, five essential themes were identified.
The themes that emerged were: possessing inherent dignity, owning dignified-self perspectives, endeavouring to exercise dignity-conserving practices, receiving dignified care, and dwelling in a dignified home environment. Dignified self-perspectives included not being a burden to others, being independent, and dying with dignity. Strategies used in dignity-conserving practices included having perseverance in setting and achieving goals, making a contribution, maximising their capability, looking forward to something, being thankful, enjoying the present by being oneself. Receiving dignified care from family and staff, and a dignified environment in the home, were also very important in preserving the dignity of the residents in the private nursing home. The participants' stories and experiences of everyday life were often related to their body and its deterioration. Dignity contained the elder's past, their perception, and current strengths and interests within their context. Inherent in dignity as personhood was respect for all aspects of the person. The elder's dignity of identity was to a great extent also connected to others' attitudes towards them as persons. The findings support other studies in that respect for the person within a caring relationship is crucial to help the elderly maintain their feeling of dignity. Lack of resources, including manpower and space resulting in inadequate care and constraints in providing privacy, are also issues that need to be addressed. Outcomes identified in this study enhance our understanding of dignity among the elderly in private nursing homes and can contribute to the development of strategies for providing dignified care in future. In addition, the results also provide a basis for enhanced clinical practice and policy recommendations for nursing home administrators and policymakers.

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