Recovery-oriented care in older-adult acute inpatient mental health settings in Australia: an exploratory study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Oct;62(10):1938-42. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13028. Epub 2014 Sep 29.


Recovery-oriented care acknowledges the unique journey that consumers lead with the aim of regaining control of their lives in order to live a good life. Recovery has become a dominant policy-directed model of many mental health care organizations, but in older-adult acute mental health inpatient settings, nurses do not have a clear description of how to be recovery-oriented. The aims of this study were to determine the extent to which elements of existing nursing practice resemble the domains of recovery-oriented care and provide a baseline understanding of practice in preparation for transformation to recovery-oriented mental health care provision. An exploratory, qualitative research design was used to meet the research aims. A purposive sample of mental health nurses (N = 12) participated in focus groups in three older-adult inpatient settings in Australia. A general inductive approach was used to analyze the qualitative data. The mental health nurses in this study readily discussed aspects of their current practice within the recovery domains. They described pragmatic ways to promote a culture of hope, collaborative partnerships, meaningful engagement, autonomy and self-determination, and community participation and citizenship. Nurses also discussed challenges and barriers to recovery-oriented care in older-adult acute mental health settings. This study identified a reasonable baseline understanding of practice in preparation for transformation to recovery-oriented older-adult mental healthcare provision. A concerted drive focused on recovery education is required to effectively embed a recovery-orientated paradigm into older-adult mental health settings.

Keywords: acute inpatient; mental health; older adults; recovery-oriented care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Community Integration
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / nursing*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital
  • Psychiatric Nursing*