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Call for more privacy in nursing homes

Residents in nursing homes need better communal living areas that encourage interaction between patients, according to a study.

Researchers in Norway looked at the habits of 24 people living in a nursing home using interviews, observation and document studies over a 15 week period.

They found common rooms, although arranged like a typical living room had ambiguous social boundaries.

Residents who were independently mobile always withdrew from the living room, leaving those unable to move independently in the communal living area.

Authors recommended: ‘One way to realise the concept of the nursing home as a home could be to make the common areas less private and more public…by making sure that the living room is not a space for sleeping and ‘storing’ residents, but a place where fellowship is created by participating in common activities.

‘The residents should be given more opportunity to choose where they want to spend time and what they want to do with whom.’

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2007) 17: 460-467

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