Outcomes of Reciving Service-Learning Activities Among Elders Living in a Long-Term Care Facility

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chia-shan Wu, RN, MSN
Nursing, National Tainan Institute of Nursing, Tainan, Taiwan
Ching-Len Yu, PhD
Department of Environmental Engineering, Kun San University, Tainan City, Taiwan
Su-Hsien Chang, PhD, RN, MSN
Department of Senior Citizen Services, National Tainan Institute of Nursing, Tainan City, Taiwan

Purpose: Service-Learning is a form of experiential education. Teaching Long-Term Care Nursing via service-learning activities, students can learn how to communicate with elders, present caring, and meet the needs of elders. However, outcomes of receiving service-learning among elders living in long-term care facilities in Taiwan were limited studied. The purpose of the study was to exam outcomes of receiving service-learning activities among elders living in a long-term care facility.

 Methods: This is a single group, pre and post test research design. The service-learning activities were provided by 4th-year nursing students in a five-year Junior College located in southern Taiwan. Each service-learning activity was provided 2 hours a week for six weeks in a morning of weekday. During the service-learning activities performed, students not only accompany elders, but also review elders’ prior life with elders.  

Results: There were 52 elders living in a long-term care facility in southern Taiwan participated in the study, Results showed that no statistically significant changes in mood status (t = 0.825) and self-esteem (t = 0.084). Although the self-perceived health status have improved, but no statistical significant improved in self-perceived physical health (t = 3.071) and mental health (t = 2.537). Hence, elders’ life satisfaction score showed statistical significant declined (t = 2.537). These results might relate to a short period of service-learning activities provided. Elders might feel unhappy due to lack of student visits.  

Conclusion: Nursing faculties who plan service-learning activities in the curriculum, teachers should prepare students knowledge and skills on how to say goodbye with elders, and than to decrease elders’ separation anxiety. Hence, continuing social visits might be provided to decrease elders’ feeling of loss. Elders might increase their life satisfaction, improve mood status and self-esteem.