Perceptions of Health, Functional Status, and Nursing Roles in Noninstitutionalized Elders with Cardiac Disease

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Title: Perceptions of Health, Functional Status, and Nursing Roles in Noninstitutionalized Elders with Cardiac Disease
Creators: Jones, Rebecca
Advisor: Menke, Edna
Issue Date: 2006-06
Abstract: Background: Adults 65 years old and older have the highest rate of cardiac disease in America. Most individuals in this group are noninstitutionalized, have multiple chronic conditions, and have functional limitations. All of these factors influence older adults’ sense of physical and psychological health. Few studies have focused on the elderly living with cardiac disease and their self-assessments of health and functional status. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate noninstitutionalized elders living with cardiac conditions, their self-assessments of health and functional status, and to explore these individuals’ perceptions and expectations of nurses. Research Method: A descriptive, cross-sectional research design was used. A convenience sample of 32 participants was recruited from a community clinic in a midwestern city. Each participant was interviewed in person using a questionnaire addressing demographics, cardiac conditions, self-assessment of health and functional status, and perceptions and expectations of nurses in meeting their health care needs. Findings: The majority of the sample (87.6%) was 70 years old or older (X=77.28), female (65.6%), and Caucasian (56.3%). 84.4% of participants said they live alone, but the majority reported being able to have help from a relative (62.5%) or someone else (34.4%). The most common cardiac diseases among the participants were hypertension (93.8%), heart attack (25.0%), and coronary artery disease (18.8%). Participants rated their current health, health compared to 1 month ago, and health compared to 5 years ago as good. They rated their health as better than the health of others their same age. Overall, participants reported being able to perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). The IADLs participants were most likely to need help performing were shopping (31.3%) and transportation (21.9%). All participants reported being independent in their activities of daily living (ADLs). In regard to the participants’ perceptions of nurses, the majority of responses were statements about nurses being helpful (71.8%), adjectives to describe nurses (53.1%), or statements that nurses are good at explaining information (18.7%). In regard to expectations about nurses most of the responses were about describing the way the participants believed nurses should act (59.3%), descriptions of nurses’ duties in providing care (37.5%), statements regarding nurses educating and explaining diagnoses (34.4%), and statements about nurses answering patient questions (21.8%). Implications: This is the first known study to assess the health, functional status, and perceptions of nurses of noninstitutionalized adults with cardiac disease. Results of this study confront stereotypes about the elderly being highly dependent and in poor health; the majority of participants in this study were living alone, functioning at a high level, and mobile in the community. Further studies are needed to investigate the health and functional status of older adults with other diagnoses, as well as the specific health care needs among the noninstitutionalized elderly. Edna Menke, PhD RN, Faculty Advisor
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. College of Nursing Honors Theses; 2006
Keywords: elderly
cardiac disease
health self-assessment
functional status
Sponsors: Lida Shriver Nursing Scholarship
The Ohio State University College of Nursing Research Fund
Description: Received second place in the Clinical Health Professions category at the 2006 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum
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