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Quality of life in nursing homes: results of a qualitative resident survey

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The growing importance of residential nursing care has been accompanied by an increasing demand for instruments measuring quality of life in nursing homes. Quality of life is a complex construct with both subjective and objective aspects that does not lend itself to being determined by a single measure. The aim of this study was therefore to identify dimensions of life that nursing home residents perceive as having a particular impact on their overall quality of life.


Data were obtained from 9 men and 33 women from eight nursing homes by means of semi-structured narrative interviews. The interviews were analyzed using the documentary method.


Ten central dimensions of subjective quality of life were derived from the interview data: social contacts, self-determination and autonomy, privacy, peace and quiet, variety of stimuli and activities, feeling at home, security, health, being kept informed, and meaningful/enjoyable activity. Some of these dimensions are multifaceted and have further subdimensions.


The aspects emerging as relevant to residents’ subjective quality of life extend far beyond care- and health-related aspects. Nevertheless, some of the quality of life dimensions reconstructed are within the direct influence of the home (e.g., variety of stimuli and activities or being kept informed) and can possibly be improved by attending to the residents’ objective situation.

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The QUISTA study was funded by Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband Berlin e.V.

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The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

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Correspondence to Liane Schenk.

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Schenk, L., Meyer, R., Behr, A. et al. Quality of life in nursing homes: results of a qualitative resident survey. Qual Life Res 22, 2929–2938 (2013).

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