The effects of involuntary interinstitutional relocation on the physical, psychosocial, and cognitive functioning of older individuals
Relocation can be disruptive to any individual, but for the elderly, this can be a traumatic event, one that can alter the quality of life. This study occurred when a home closed suddenly, forcing the relocation of residents. The purpose of this study was to determine if the process of involuntary relocation had an effect on those relocated. A mixed methods design was utilized and consisted of four parts: mortality statistics; instrumentation; chart reviews; and case studies. Mortality rates one year after relocation were significantly higher when compared to a control group. Nine individuals completed the Dementia Quality of Life Tool, Geriatric Depression Scale, Lubben Social Support Network Scale, and UCLA Loneliness Scale. Mean scores on the sub scales for quality of life all decreased after relocation; however, the only significant changes were in the areas of positive and negative affect. Scores on the geriatric depression scale improved after relocation. Chart reviews (25) consisted of obtaining data from the Minimum Data Set upon initial admission and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after relocation. Data obtained related to cognitive abilities, mood, and physical functioning. Mean scores were lower at every point in time when compared to the scores pre-relocation, however, the difference in scores were not significant. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to determine if there was a significant difference in an individual's scores over the periods examined. There was no significant effect over time. Case studies were completed on relocated residents and family members. An interview was conducted and key questions were used to initiate discussion. Four themes were identified: perceptions of care, powerlessness, sense of loss, and anger. Findings suggest that health care providers need to allow individuals as many choices as possible, thereby providing them with a sense of control in the event of relocation. Assessing an individual's attitude toward the move, their strengths, and concerns is vital in order to facilitate adjustment to the new environment.