Life enrichment (LE) activities are highly preferable among nursing home residents (NHRs). Unfortunately, they were widely restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic due to safety measures, health precautions, and social isolation. This pandemic had its toll on the mental health of NHRs. Little is known about the changes or adjustments of the recreational programs during this pandemic. This study aims to assess the utilization of recreational activities in nursing homes and their effects on the residents in 3 states during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A cross-sectional study design used phone-reported questionnaires to enquire about the utilization of the recreational activities in the nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and their effects on the residents in the following states: Texas, Florida, and California. The sample selection was purposive since the 3 most COVID19-affected states were selected. A total of 41 responses were collected from nursing home life enrichment staff from August to October 2021.
We found that the most common hallway activities were Bingo and Trivia by 85.4% and 53.7% respectively, while the most used devices for other activities included residents’ smartphones (63.4%), iPads (58.5%), and tablets (53.7%). To communicate with their family members virtually, NHRs mostly used Facetime (90.2%) and Zoom (51.2%). The residents’ morale and engagement with activities were decreased in 51.2% of the responding facilities. About 63.4% of the activity staff members revealed difficulty in offering activities to the residents largely due to limited time that allowed them to be in the residents’ rooms and the limitation of the group activities. Interestingly, a decline in the residents’ cognition due to loneliness and boredom was reported in 41.5% during the pandemic.
Recreational activities for nursing home residents are important, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Staff who offered these activities faced many challenges such as decreased morale and engagement among the residents in addition to the limitations in the group activities due to COVID-19 restrictions. There was a good use of technology in keeping the residents’ communication with their families, but still the immense impact of COVID-19 was largely undefeatable. Further studies are needed to shed more light on the activities offered to nursing home residents.
All authors have stated there are no financial disclosures to be made that are pertinent to this abstract.
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.