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Peer relationships were important to the experience of thriving in some, but not all, nursing home residents

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A Bergland

Ms A Bergland, Lovisenberg Deaconal College, Oslo, Norway; [email protected]

QUESTION

What are the perceptions of nursing home residents of the importance of peer relationships to the experience of thriving (defined as living life fully)?

DESIGN

Descriptive exploratory study based on a social-phenomenological research tradition.

SETTING

2 nursing homes in Norway.

PARTICIPANTS

26 residents (age 74–103 y, 20 women) who had lived in the nursing home for ⩾2 months and were mentally lucid.

METHODS

Data were collected through participant observation (daily activities and organised social activities) and interviews with 16 residents. These data were analysed, and then 10 additional residents were interviewed to elaborate on preliminary findings.

MAIN FINDINGS

12 residents had established a personal relationship with ⩾1 other resident. Peer relationships were important to thriving for some, but not all, residents. Thriving among residents involved in peer relationships. These residents had established relationships with only 1 or a few peers since many of the other residents had mental impairments. They actively sought each other out, visited each others’ rooms, and talked about their families, previous lives, and nursing …

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