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The environmental temperature of the residential care home: Role in thermal comfort and mental health?
journal contributionposted on 23.12.2021, 04:16 by Michelle ClearyMichelle Cleary, Toby Raeburn, Sancia G West, Charmaine Childs
Background: In the midst of changing environmental conditions and increasing populations aged over 65 years, how best to provide nursing care that promotes mental health and wellbeing within residential aged care facilities is an important concern. Aim/Objective: To explore the perceptions of temperature control, thermal comfort and nursing care in a small group of older Australians. Design: Descriptive, qualitative study using thematic analysis. Methods: Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with a group of older Australians living within an aged care facility. Interviews were taped, transcribed and then analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Five adults participated. Themes emerging included: (1) balancing nursing care and resident autonomy; (2) the importance of mobility to cope with temperature; and (3) reliance on habitual behaviour to cope with temperature. The importance of experiencing a sense of choice and ability to self-regulate personal environment arose as a substantial concern. Conclusions: The attention of older residents to personal issues related to thermal comfort linked to physical and mental health emphasise the importance of concerns regarding mobility, nursing care and autonomy. For older age residents the interplay between thermal comfort and behaviour adaptation is influenced by nurses and their control of the residential environment.