An exploration of how individual characteristics and facility features influence long-term care residents‟ personal relationships

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Nadeau, Sacha
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Personal relationships are intrinsically connected to resident quality of life (QOL). In 2012, analysis of the Care and Construction project‟s InterRAI QOL resident survey indicated the personal relationships domain was the lowest scoring. Applying a mixedmethods ecological perspective, this research investigates how individual and/or environmental factors influence the domain of residents‟ personal relationships through a secondary data analysis of surveys of 319 long-term care residents from 23 facilities in Nova Scotia. Multi-level modeling was deemed inappropriate since environmental level variables between facilities (facility type, rural/urban) only accounted for 3% of variance in residents‟ relationships. As such, hierarchical regression analyses were used to determine the contributions of within-facility factors on residents‟ personal relationships. Statistically significant QOL domains within facilities included comfort, autonomy, food, activities, staff bonding and staff responsiveness. Individual risk factors for low personal relationships were widowhood and being over 85. Qualitative analyses of open-ended questions illustrated the lived-experience of residents and how care provision and facility features helped or hindered the maintenance and development of personal relationships. Results suggest that improved social engagement within facilities is needed; newer facility designs are not sufficient to foster the social engagement of residents. Holistic care should address both physical and social needs. As governments and the LTC sector strive to achieve the best fit between cost containment and improving QOL for residents, this research sheds light on the social experience of residents.
Personal relationships , Resident quality of life , Long-term care residents , Long-term care facilities , Aging