Dementia (London). 2022 Nov 25:14713012221142474. doi: 10.1177/14713012221142474. Online ahead of print.
The physical environment plays an important role in how everyday life is shaped and experienced for persons living in nursing homes as well as for the residents’ family and friends. Still, there is a scarcity of research exploring the perspectives of family members of residents regarding everyday life in common areas in nursing homes. In this study, we chose the term, ‘a pleasant place’, with the ambition of remaining open to various ideas and aspects that family members perceive as relevant when reasoning about the nursing home environment. The study aimed to explore how family members of nursing home residents reason in relation to pleasant places in nursing homes. Four focus group sessions were conducted with a total of 14 family members. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The analysis resulted in four themes. ‘A door ajar’, highlighted the importance of a nursing home environment that provides potential opportunities for pleasurable everyday moments. ‘Why does it have to be so ugly?’, revealed how family members perceived institutional logics as guiding the design of the nursing homes, which were misaligned with the logics of a pleasant place. ‘A place to care for?’, emphasised the physical environment as an integrated aspect of care, in terms of being carefully arranged and used with sensitivity. Finally, ‘allegiance to the place’ showed that despite the family members’ recognitions of shortcomings in the nursing home physical environments, their allegiance to the place provided a sense of the nursing home as a pleasant place. The study contributes knowledge regarding the perceived value of the design of the physical environment in nursing homes, particularly in common areas, as an integral aspect of care, and moves beyond the ideas of homelike and non-institutional nursing home environments.
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