Residents' Positive and Negative Relationship Networks in a Nursing Home

J Gerontol Nurs. 2016 Nov 1;42(11):9-13. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20160901-06. Epub 2016 Sep 6.


Person-centered care involves consideration of long-term care residents' lived experience, including social relationships. The current cross-sectional study investigated co-resident social networks in three units of a 94-bed Australian nursing home, including an 18-bed dementia-specific unit (DSU). Six care staff were interviewed. Chart, self-reported social isolation, and staff-reported social engagement data were collected for 36 residents ages 63 to 94 who consented to full participation. Fifty-five additional residents were included in observations. Median positive-to-negative network size ratios within units were 1.5:1 (Unit 1), 0.7:1 (Unit 3), and 0:1 (DSU). Moderate positive correlations existed between: perceived social support and total positive relationships [ρ(25) = 0.44, p = 0.03]; social withdrawal and total negative relationships [ρ(36) = 0.51, p = 0.002]; and objective social isolation and total negative relationships [ρ(22) = -0.44, p = 0.042]. Number and quality of relationships were associated with resident social withdrawal, perceived support, and isolation. High prevalence of isolation and negative relationships demonstrate the need for interventions. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 42(11), 9-13.].

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*