Examination of a Nursing Home Environment: Are Residents Engaged in Recreation Activities?


  • Judith E. Voelkl
  • Kathleen Winkelhake
  • Jane Jeffries
  • Naomi Yoshioka


Nursing Home Environment, Older Adults, Staff, Time Use, Recreation Activities


The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 mandates that nursing homes support residents' engagement in preferred activities (Martin & Smith, 1993; U.S. Congress, 1987). Little is known, however, about the ways in which the environment affords or diminishes residents' engagement in independent and group recreation. Therefore, a case study on a nursing home unit was conducted to examine (a) the use of the nursing home environment by residents and staff and (b) staff perceptions as to the predictors, barriers and affordances of resident engagement in activities when in the public environments of the nursing home. Findings revealed that residents were most frequently engaged in either eating/drinking or in no observable behavior. In contrast, staff most frequently were observed to be talking, traveling, or cleaning. Focus group data indicated that resident characteristics and the facility schedule predicted whether or not residents spent time in the nursing home's public environments. Barriers to engagement included management, physical environment, resident characteristics, staff philosophy, and resident perceptions.





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