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Experience and meaning of group altruistic activities among long-term care residents

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Purpose: A phenomenological investigation was conducted of the experiences of long-term care residents as they planned, participated and reflected on their engagement in an altruistic activity.

Procedures: Eight residents planned and engaged in the creation of flower arrangements and greeting cards for local hospice patients. Data were collected via in-depth group and individual interviews, as well as field notes. The process of data analysis was guided by the empirical, phenomenological and psychological method.

Findings: A grand theme of 'connectedness' emerged and was supported by four underlying subthemes: (a) creative and thoughtful activity, (b) sense of community, (c) facilitation of reminiscence and (d) reciprocity.

Conclusion: Through engagement in an altruistic activity, the participants developed a sense of connection with their pasts, the others in the group, the recipients and the activity itself. The findings suggest that occupational therapy services should include altruistic activities to help to facilitate a greater sense of connection for their clients.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802210X12759925468989

Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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