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Wives of Institutionalized Elderly Men: What Influences Satisfaction with Care?*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 November 2010

Pam Dawson
University of Toronto and Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Carolyn J. Rosenthal
McMaster University


This paper examines, first of all, the levels of satisfaction of wives with the care of their institutionalized elderly husbands and changes in satisfaction over the nine months following the husband's admission to a long-term care facility. Secondly, the paper examines the relationships between satisfaction with care and: (a) the husband's care requirements prior to admission, and (b) wives' physical and psychosocial health following admission. Data are taken from a longitudinal study of wives' responses to the institutionalization of elderly husbands. The subsample in this paper consists of 46 wives who remained in the study nine months after the husband's admission. Wives reported fairly high levels of satisfaction. Changes did not occur over time in overall satisfaction, satisfaction with the arrangements for husband's care, or satisfaction with time for information. A significant decline over time was found, however, with respect to satisfaction with the facility. Pre-admission factors (husbands' need for assistance and wives' perceived burden) showed little relationship to wives' subsequent satisfaction with care. As well, wives' physical health was unrelated to satisfaction. In contrast, wives with better psychosocial health (as indicated by morale, affect, depressive symptoms and social interaction) tended to be more satisfied with care.


Cet article examine en premier lieu le niveau de satisfaction des épouses à l'égard des soins de leur mari âgé hébergé en établissement et mesure le même facteur sur les neuf mois qui suivent l'admission de l'époux dans un centre hospitalier de longue durée. Deuxièmement, l'article examine la relation entre la satisfaction vis-à-vis les soins et (a) les soins requis par le mari avant l'admission et (b) la santé physique et psychosociale de l'épouse après l'admission. Les données proviennent d'une étude longitudinale des réactions des épouses à l'hébergement en établissement de leur mari âgé. Le sous-échantillon se compose de 46 épouses qui ont participé à l'étude pendant neuf mois suivant l'admission du mari. Les épouses se sont déclarées passablement satisfaites. Il ne s'est pas produit de modifications d'opinions majeures sur l'ensemble des neuf mois quant à la satisfaction générale, la satisfaction des soins donnés à l'époux ou la satisfaction sur le temps consacré à l'information. Par contre, on a relevé une diminution significative de la satisfaction quant aux installations. Les facteurs précédant l'admission (le besoin de soins par le mari et le fardeau perçu par l'épouse) ne présentaient pas de liens véritables avec la satisfaction des épouses en matière de soins ni avec la santé physique de celles-ci. Cependant, les épouses dont la santé psychosociale était plus élevée (indice mesuré par le moral, l'affect, les symptômes de dépression et l'interaction sociale) étaient généralement plus satisfaites des soins accordés à leur époux.

Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 1996

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