Promoting thriving in nursing homes: The Eden Alternative

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Beth E. Barba, Professor (Creator)
Nancy F. Courts, Visiting Associate Professor (Contributor)
Anita S. Tesh, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The current reality is that frail older adults who live in nursing homes spend a good deal of their time alone, unable to care for themselves or their environments. They enjoy few stimulating activities. Even well cared for nursing home residents may be afflicted by loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. Nursing home residents are viewed by others as having a poor quality of life. They fulfill the stereotype of being depressed, in depressing surroundings. Caregivers in nursing homes are viewed the same way. They are seen as having low status among health care workers, low salaries, and high turnover rates (Cohen-Mansfield, 1997; Kettlitz, Zbib, & Motwani, 1998). Nursing home residents suffer from loneliness, helplessness, and boredom more than from medical problems (Thomas, 1996). Most nursing homes operate from a medical model, yet most frail older adults do not enter nursing homes for medical care. The medical model focuses on treatment of physiological problems using medical interventions, failing to attend to psychological factors such as loneliness, helplessness, or boredom. Dr. William Thomas, who proposed the Eden Alternative, believes life can be fulfilling at any age. He says that nursing homes are primarily homes, not hospitals, and suggests nursing homes commit to a human habitat model. In this model, the residents' lives in nursing homes revolve around a decentralized team method of care delivery, resident animals, daily children's activities, and numerous plants.

Additional Information

Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 28(3), 7-13
Language: English
Date: 2002
Eden Alternative, Dr. William Thomas, Nursing homes, Enhanced environment

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