Nursing home residents' perspectives on their social relationships.

Journal Article (Multicenter Study;Journal Article)

Aims and objectives

To explore nursing home residents' perspectives on their relationships with other residents, family members and staff.


The cultivation of social relationships is central to promoting well-being in nursing homes, as these relationships allow residents, family members and staff to be valued as unique persons and empowered as partners in care. Few studies have examined how nursing home residents perceive the relationships in their social networks, both within and beyond the facility.


Qualitative secondary analysis.


We analysed individual and group interviews obtained during "stakeholder engagement sessions" with cognitively intact residents (N = 11 sessions; N = 13 participants) from two nursing homes in North Carolina. The interviews were conducted as part of a larger study on person-directed care planning. We integrated thematic and narrative analytic approaches to guide the analysis of interview data, using a three-cycle coding approach. The COREQ checklist was followed.


Four broad themes emerged from this analysis: (a) peer relationships foster a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement and significance; (b) residents' relationships with family members support a sense of belonging, continuity and significance; (c) mutual respect and reciprocity between residents and nursing home staff promote a sense of belonging and significance; and (d) organisational factors pose barriers to forging meaningful relationships. Each type of relationship-peer, family and staff-made distinctive contributions residents' psychosocial well-being.


Recognising the diverse roles of different actors from residents' social networks raises questions for future research to optimise the distinctive contributions of network members that promote residents' psychosocial well-being.

Relevance to clinical practice

This study highlights the need for nursing home staff to understand how residents' social relationships influence residents' psychosocial outcomes. Staff training programmes are needed to support residents' rights and to dispel inaccurate interpretations of regulations that threaten sustained meaningful relationships.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kang, B; Scales, K; McConnell, ES; Song, Y; Lepore, M; Corazzini, K

Published Date

  • April 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 7-8

Start / End Page

  • 1162 - 1174

PubMed ID

  • 31889360

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7085465

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2702

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-1067

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jocn.15174


  • eng