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Correlates of institutionalized senior veterans' quality of life in Taiwan

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Author(s): Chang Hsiao-Ting | Liu Li-Fan | Chen Chun-Ku | Hwang Shinn-Jang | Chen Liang-Kung | Lu Feng-Hwa

Journal: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes
ISSN 1477-7525

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 70;
Date: 2010;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Senior veterans living in government sponsored, long-term care (LTC) facilities, known as veterans' homes (VHs), are a special minority group in Taiwan. These seniors came from different provinces of mainland China during their teenage years at the end of civil wars in 1945. The situation of institutionalized senior veterans shares many characteristics with the concept of "total institution". Very little quality of life (QOL) research has involved senior veterans. This study aimed to explore the QOL and related factors of VH-dwelling senior veterans in Taiwan. Methods Chronic conditions and socio-demographic characteristics of 260 male VH residents were recorded. The Brief Form of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life Questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF, Taiwanese version); Short-Form 36; Inventory of Socially Supportive Behavior questionnaire; Geriatric Depression Scale-short form; Barthel Index; and instrumental activities of daily living were used. Data analyses including descriptive and inferred statistics were performed using SPSS, version 17. Results WHOQOL-BREF showed acceptable reliability in this study. Compared to Taiwanese male norms, WHOQOL-BREF physical, psychological, and social relationship domain scores were around the 25th percentile, and the environment domain was about the 75th percentile. Our participants scored low in all concepts of SF-36. Although these residents rated the social support of their children, relatives, friends, social and medical staff as low, they gave high satisfaction ratings to their social supports. On multiple stepwise linear regression analysis, depressive symptoms, number of chronic conditions, retired military rank, and relatives' support correlated with QOL in both the physical and psychological domains. Friends' support and depressive symptoms correlated with the social relationships domain. Friends' support and instrumental activities of daily living correlated with the environment domain. Conclusions In general, institutionalized senior veterans' QOL was lower than Taiwanese male norms. Helping senior veterans to effectively improve their subjective mental health and social support, and controlling chronic disease appears to be critical to their QOL.
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