Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Palliative Care Nursing Research with Older Adults
The Spirituality of Older Adult Nursing Home Residents at the End of LIfe
Meredith Wallace, PhD, APRN, School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, USA

Background: Spirituality is of particular importance in the lives of many older adults at the end of life. While the role of spirituality may differ among older adults, the impact of spirituality on quality of life has been well documented in this population and often has a strong relationship with older adultís motivation to improve health and heal from illness. Spirituality may also offer a purpose and meaning toward the end of life and provides a framework for managing concerns and decisions at this time. Despite the increasingly evident role of spirituality in the U.S., the spirituality of older adults has been neglected. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of spirituality and quality of life in the lives of older nursing home residents at the end of life. Methods: A total of 60 older long-term care residents were interviewed using spiritual care and quality of life rating scales in order to better understand residentís spirituality, perception of spiritual care and impact on quality of life. Participants were contacted through their charge nurse and consent for participation was obtained. The inclusion criteria for the study was: aged 65 and older; fluency in English and ability to give informed consent. Residents were interviewed to measure residentís spirituality and perception of spiritual care as well as quality of life. Findings: Correlational and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the participantís spirituality. The analysis focuses attention on the perception of older adults regarding spiritual needs and spiritual care at the end of life as well as the impact of these needs on quality of life. Implications: The results of the study provide information that may be used to increase knowledge and improve spiritual interventions for nursing home residents at the end of life.