FAITH-HEALTH INTEGRATION IN THE CHURCH AFFILIATED FRAIL ELDER
Researchers’ Background • Parish Nursing • Gerontological Nursing • Nursing Education • Caregivers for Elderly Family Members
RESEARCH QUESTIONS • What is the impact of faith on changing health in the frail elderly person? • What is the impact of changing health on faith in the frail elderly person?
Interview Questions: • How would you describe your health at this time? • How would you describe your relationship with God at this time? With the Church?
Methodology: phenomenology • Research Teams: • In-depth interviews with ten church-affiliated frail elders over time. Audio-taping and note taking. • Selection of subjects
Assumptions and Dilemmas • Ethical concerns • Neuro-sensory changes • Consent over time
Ages: 74-97 Av. 86 Gender: 8 females, 2 males Living Arrangements 5 ind. Apts 3 own home 2 monastery, mission Church Affiliation: Roman Catholic and Protestant Medical Diagnoses: 4 had 3 or more Chronic illnesses Areas of frailness: endurance, pain, balance Demographic Summary
Activities of Daily Living: • Personal hygiene • Eating • Reading • Conversation • Shopping • Lifting • Walking • Cleaning
Overall health: self rating • 1 – “poor health” • 5 – “health is changing” • 4 – “health is maintaining”
Findings: • Faith and doubt may co-exist • Elders have a great need for meaning, purpose and giving • Narrative is useful as research and as intervention • Speak of limitations rather than diagnoses
Findings, continued • Do not look to the church for physical help • Experience isolation from the church and its staff • Limit the role of the parish nurse to physical care • Compare themselves to other seniors
Summary: • The integration of faith and health is nurtured by relationships with others • Health is described by relational and comparative function • Church affiliated elders’ relationships with God and church reflect growth, intensity, fluidity and paradox. • The church influences in positive and negative ways.