Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


In the past, nursing homes have been regarded as lonely, sterile, and non-stimulating places. Recently, the effect of the environment on nursing home residents has been examined more closely. The purpose of this study was to compare the psychosocial functioning, cognitive ability, and self-perception of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) performance capability between nursing home residents who resided in a nursing home using an Eden Alternative approach to care and residents who resided in a nursing home that used a traditional medical model approach to care. The Eden Alternative is a philosophy of nursing home care that includes animals, children, and plants in the environment. The Eden Alternative was developed by Dr. William H. Thomas and the purpose of this approach is to increase a person's quality of life when residing in a nursing home. In contrast, a traditional medical model approach focuses on the physical care of the resident. In a nursing home that follows a traditional model the environment is more sterile and institutional in nature. Residents of the two different types of nursing homes were given the Short Form (SF) 36 Health Survey and the Mini-Mental State Exam to determine whether their cognition, psychosocial functioning, and self-perception of ADL performance capability were different. The SF-36 is a self-rated evaluation that addresses eight areas of health. These areas include physical functioning, role-physical, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, role-emotional, and mental health. Several of these areas form the Mental Health sub-section of the SF-36. The Mental Health sub-section was used to measure residents' psychosocial functioning. Participants' self-perception of ADL performance capability was measured by the physical functioning category. Residents were also given the Mini Mental State Exam to determine their level of cognitive functioning. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The length of stay for each resident was also examined to determine if this variable had an influence on the results. No significant difference was found between the scores of the two groups of residents in any of the three areas of functioning. Possible reasons for the results of this study are discussed and future research is suggested.



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