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Friday, April 25, 2014

Nurses’ and care workers’ experiences of spiritual needs in residents with dementia in nursing homes: a qualitative study

Published in BMC Nursing 2014 13(12), the aim of this study was to investigate nurses’ and care workers ’ experiences of spiritual needs among residents with dementia in nursing homes. Nurses claim to practice holistic nursing, although there is little knowledge about how to recognise spiritual needs in residents with dementia.

The study was conducted using a qualitative method with an exploratory design. Eight focus-group interviews in four Norwegian nursing homes were performed fro m June 2011 – Jan 2012. Using open-ended research questions, a total of 31 participants we re asked to share their understanding and experiences regarding residents’ spiritual needs. The interviews were analysed using a phenomenological – hermeneutical method.

The nurses’ and care workers’ experiences of residents’ spiritual needs were related to three
main themes: i) The need for serenity and inner peace; ii) The need for confirmation; iii) The need to express faith and beliefs. The study revealed that nurses believe residents’ spiritual needs were linked to the residents’ previous sources of finding meaning, in relation to inter- personal, intra-personal and trans-personal dimensions in residents’ lives.

Nurses' and care workers’ experiences of spiritual needs in people with dementia are similar to residents regardless of the severity of the dementia. The study indicates the importance of developing more knowledge about how people with dementia in nursing homes express spiritual needs and how to observe and interpret such needs.

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