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Meeting the nursing care needs of the elderly in the community : clients' perspectives on adult day care Shapera, Leah Elizabeth


A trend toward non-institutionalization of the elderly, in conjunction with the increasing size of the elderly population has resulted in the development of a variety of community programs and services to help meet their complex and diverse health care needs in the community setting. Although there is substantial documentation pertaining to the needs of the elderly in the community and the available services (Lifton, 1989; Padula, 1983; Starrett, 1986; Wallace, 1987), this documentation has been generated primarily by health care professionals and agencies, rather than from the perspectives of the elderly themselves. Adult Day Care [ADC] programs were established in the late 1960s as one means of attempting to meet the needs of the frail elderly in the community (Padula, 1983). On the surface, these programs appear to be effective in meeting the needs of clients through the provision of nursing services and a wide variety of therapeutic programs and social activities. This exploratory descriptive study was based on the premise that there exists a need to gain insight into the clients' perspectives regarding the ways in which ADC services are instrumental in meeting their perceived needs. Data were collected and analyzed to identify the self-perceived needs of ADC clients and their perceptions of how the ADC nursing services were instrumental in assisting them to meet these needs. Two interviews were conducted with each of the 11 ADC participants comprising the sample, using a semi-structured interview guide developed by the researcher. The two needs most commonly identified by participants included the need to cope with a range of concurrent and/or successive losses, and the need to establish new support systems. Participants identified the most significant components of the nursing role as those of the provision of emotional support through counselling, and the provision of health monitoring services. Participants viewed the overall ADC program as important in assisting them to meet their needs by providing access to social outings, individualized care, emotional support, and the opportunity to enhance their self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of belongingness.

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