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Group and single-subject evaluation of a programme to promote self-care in elderly nursing home residents

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Residents and staff of a nursing home in a metropolitan area were randomly assigned to three conditions to: (a) test whether staff's use of operant behavioural management strategies (Condition 1) would cause a greater increase in residents' self-care behaviour than staff's use of mutual goal setting (Condition 2) or routine nursing care (Condition 3), and (b) examine how useful group scores were, compared to individual scores, in determining change in individual residents' behaviour due to treatment. In-service training was provided to staff in Conditions 1 and 2 but not in Condition 3. Over a period of 22 weeks, nursing staff encouraged subjects to perform targeted self-care tasks independently. Data analysis indicated significantly greater change in self-care behaviours for subjects in Condition 1 than for subjects in Conditions 2 and 3. However, visual inspection of data for each case revealed that individual scores were more useful than averages and differences between groups for determining the effectiveness of the clinical interventions.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University; Research Manager 2: Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University; Director, Research and Program Development 3: Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Senior Researcher 4: Program Development Manager, Piedmont Geriatric Hospital, Burkeville, VA, USA

Publication date: December 1, 1996


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