Date of Award

2002-04-01

Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Clark, PhD, RN, Chair; Louise Rauckhorst, EdD, RN, FAAN; JoAnn Wegmann, PhD, RN

Keywords

age & aging, Baby Boomers, community, elderly, gerontology, nursing, quality of life

Abstract

In the year 2000, there were approximately 35 million people in the United States who were 65 years of age or older, a ten-fold increase since 1900. The growth of this population has presented opportunities and challenges to American society. Health care needs, physical changes of aging, and the allocation of health care resources are several of the issues that need to be addressed (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, 2000). Quality of life measurement tools have been used to assess the health and social needs of aging people both in the United States and internationally since their conception in the 1960s. (Andreson, Rothenberg, Panzer, Katz, & McDermott, 1998; Johnson, 1998; Katz et al, 1963; Porter, 1995). Data collected from these tools have been used to measure quality of life, to allocate health resources for elderly individuals, and to define aggregate health policy to meet the needs of elderly Americans (O'Connor, 1993). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the congruence between themes used in quantitative quality of life instruments and the concepts of quality of life as perceived by elderly community residents. Using an interview format, data were gathered from a convenience sample of community-dwelling residents aged 65 years of age and older. Data gathered in face-to-face interviews with subjects were transcribed, and researcher field notes were used to augment the verbal data. The study population was obtained from a condominium complex in Northern San Diego County, California. The researcher identified twelve subjects; all interviews were complete and utilized as data for this study. The themes identified in the participant interviews were compared to the themes of several quality of life tools, including the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the LEIPAD, and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36). The LEIPAD tool was found to be the most inclusive of the lived experiences of the subjects. The BRFSS instrument had thematic relevance, but was found to have administrative disadvantages. The SF-36 tool was found to be inconsistent with themes identified by participants and not appropriate as an assessment tool for QOL in a geriatric population.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access

Department

Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons

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