An appreciative inquiry (action research) approach was used to study how meaning and purpose in the lives of nursing home residents could be enhanced. A primary focus of the study was to optimise the participation of nursing home residents within the study as there was a lack of pro-active involvement of residents in previous studies. The philosophical underpinnings of the participatory approach used in this study will be explored. The missed opportunities to fully empower residents in their role in the study and to create communities of inquiry will also be addressed.
The findings of the study were that the physical setting, valuing of identity, dynamics of relationships, focus of activities and the component of care were aspects of nursing home life that could enable residents to enhance meaning and purpose in their lives.
For some of the residents and the researcher engagement in the study was a life enhancing experience.
Dr Natalie Yates-Bolton is a senior lecturer in Nursing at the University of Salford, UK. Her PhD study was an appreciative inquiry of how meaning and purpose in the lives of nursing home residents could be enhanced.
Natalie teaches undergraduate student nurses and UK and international and UK post graduate health care professionals. Natalie is the International co-lead for the School of Health and Society. She has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship and a Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholarship. As a result of her studies Natalie co-founded the Salford Institute for Dementia and developed the MSc. Dementia: Care and the Enabling Environment.
The main focus of Natalie’s current practice development work is workforce development for nursing home staff.