Eden Alternative: Better Choice for Elder Care Research Paper

Pages: 9 (2516 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 11  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

¶ … Eden Alternative is a nursing home care model that was developed in the U.S. In the early 1990s with the goal of completely transforming the long-term care facilities into habitats that are habitable by combating boredom, loneliness and helplessness, the three major "plagues" that affect institutionalized elders (Thomas,1994;CUPE,2000). The Eden Alternative as an operational nursing home model involves the creation of a human habitat by the intentional introduction of plants, animals, birds, gardens as well as visiting children into the care facility. The Eden model effectively restructures the care delivery process so as to in this paper, we investigate the reasons as to why the Eden Alternative program/philosophy is a suitable choice for improve the quality of life for seniors/elders within nursing care facilities as well as why it should be adopted as their standard of care.

Problem statement

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Social isolation, physical attacks, misuse of medication as well as restraint form some of the worst conditions to which the elderly population is exposed to in the United States. These factors have been shown to pose serious risks in the health of the elderly population. Social isolation for instance, has been linked to increased alcohol abuse since they may use it to relieve the depression as well as boredom that stems from their unfulfilled expectations. Boredom which may results due to marginality and social isolation may worsen schizophrenia and depression Felmet, Zosook and Kasckow,2010). Boredom, loneliness and helplessness has also been linked to increased suicidality among the elderly (Seidel,2004;Cattan et al.,2005).The Eden Alternative seeks to provide a habitable condition for the elderly for them to enjoy a livelihood devoid of boredom, loneliness and helplessness. This in the end would allow the to have a holistic lifestyle and health which would in turn improve their longevity.

Research question

TOPIC: Research Paper on Eden Alternative: Better Choice for Elder Care Assignment

In this paper, we seek to answers the following research questions;

1. To what extent does the Eden Alternative improve the physical, mental and psychological health of the elderly population?

2. What is the lived experience of the elderly who are taken care of using the Eden Alternative method of care?

3. How has EA been integrated into the national care of elderly patients?

4. How has EA been integrated in nursing therapy?

5. What are the documented benefits of EA in patient outcomes?

The aim of this paper is to investigate the proposition that the Eden alternative is the better choice for elder care.

The Eden Alternative model was propose as a way of improving the quality of life for the elderly patients in nursing homes across the world. The model employs the principles of anthropology and ecology as the basis for creating a diverse human habitat that consists of gardents, plants, pets as well as an interaction which is multi-generational as opposed to the more traditional model of nursing home. The nursing home staff are also taken through an intensive training regime prior to implementing of the Eden Alternative. The intention of the Eden Alternative is to create a habitat that is healthy. Other than a change in the environment, the management's hierarchy is also change. Organizational decisions are therefore made by staff at all levels of the organization. Fun and spontaneity therefore become parts of the system.

Literature review

Extant literature has been dedicated to the concept of the Alternative (EA) as a care model for the elderly. An investigation on a single nursing facility that implemented EA for a period of two years indicated that there were significant positive improvements in the depression scores of the residents as well as family satisfaction (Robinson & Rosher, 2006). A study by Rosher & Robinson (2005) however indicated that there was opposition from new administrations to the principles of the Eden Alternative. The resulting organizational turmoil caused staff dissatisfaction as well as reduction in turnover. Staff decision making was also affected; a key element / principle for the Eden Alternative.

Lopez (2006) conducted an ethnographic study in which she operated as a nursing assistant in a facility that embraced and employed the concept of Eden Alternative. Her main aim was to note he culture change that comes with the implementation of the EA.Her conclusion was that poor nursing home care can never be solved by the adoption of improved models such as EA, which is a form of culture change. A study by Kruschke (2006) on the impact of Eden Alternative on the outcome of residents indicated that when the three plagues; boredom, loneliness and helplessness were addressed, the lives of the residents significantly improved.

Parnell (2005) conducted a study involving focus groups extracted from two Eden Alternative nursing facilities in order to explore boredom, loneliness and helplessness from the residents' perspective. The study never examined if EA lead to a reduction of the level of the three plagues. Instead, it indicated that residents suffered boredom, loneliness and helplessness as losses of adapting to the rather institutionalized living.

Petersen and Warbuton (2010) conducted a steady on the Eden model as an innovation in aged care.They indicated that indeed the EA concept is a true innovation that has revolutionized aged care all over the world. Sarah (2010) conducted a systematic review of literature on animal-facilitated therapy in a diverse population. She concluded that the employment of animal-facilitated therapy is effective in improving the condition of several patient populations within the elderly care settings. She indicate that animals like pets are important since they endow a large piece of themselves for human's sake. Their presence is therefore an oasis of beauty as well as serenity in an individual's life. The unique bond between man and pet is therefore an everlasting relationship that can effectively eliminate boredom and loneliness among the elderly population.

The Health Technology Inquiry Service conducted a review of the clinical effectiveness, the cost effectiveness as well as guidelines of the Eden Alternatives as well as the Green House Concept of Care (HITS,2010).

Adoption of the Eden Alternative concept

Brownie, Neeleman, and Noakes-Meyer (2011) wrote an article that explored how the Eden Alternative can be established in Australia and New Zealand. He pointed out that the Eden Alternative ™ is a rather contemporary approach to the concept of long-term care and was specifically designed in order to combat the plague of old age. This is achieved by incorporating elements of companionship, spontaneity, variety and a sense of purpose into the daily experience of the aged individuals.Otsuka et al. (2010) carried out a study to establish the prospects for introducing the concept of the Eden alternative to the Japanese care system. They pointed out that no care facility and officially and formally incorporated the Eden Alternative philosophy of care into their systems. Their work was however aimed at the identification of the perception of the nurses and other care workers on the lives of elderly patients in the care facilities to consideration of incorporating the philosophy of Eden Alternative in the Chinese elder care. The participants generally recognized that the elderly suffer from intense boredom, loneliness and helplessness and there is therefore a general need to adopt the Eden Alternative as a way of reducing their suffering from the three plagues.

Petersen and Warbuton (2010) conducted a study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of the Eden Alternative. The setting was an integrated health service facility in rural Australia where the philosophy of Eden Alternative was implemented. The study was quantitative in nature and explored the opinions of the staff. The results indicated that the Eden Alternative is easily accessible to all of the staff who participates in aged care. There is however tension within its implementation since it is a person-centered care. The study concluded that this form of care could be innovative and therefore there is need to explore the concept of innovation in the context of aged care.

Baumann (2008) wrote an article that explored the ties between the Eden Alternative philosophy and the classical Chinese Confucius philosophy. The article describes the Ox Mountain Parable of Meng Tzu with a link to the Eden Alternative. The implications of the connection for the nursing practice are considered.


The study involved the evaluation of the impact on the quality of life of the elderly from the implementation of the Eden Alternative philosophy. This was achieved by carrying out a quasi-experimental study involving two nursing homes. One of the homes implemented the Eden Alternative Model while the other did not. The quality of life was then examined by a thorough comparison of the changes that was realized by the participants over a two-month period. Minimum Data Set MDS

data as well as interviews were used to evaluate the cognitive level of the participants.

This research project was aimed at determining if the implementation of the EA model had a positive impact on the residents' quality of life in nursing homes. The project involved comparing certain elements of the residents in two different nursing homes. One of the nursing homes implemented the EA model while the other did not. The inclusion criterion for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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