Factors that impact residents' transition and psychological adjustment to long-term aged care: a systematic literature review

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Publication details

Brownie, S, Horstmanshof, L & Garbutt, R 2014, 'Factors that impact residents' transition and psychological adjustment to long-term aged care: a systematic literature review', International Journal of Nursing Studies, vol. 51, no. 12, pp. 1654-1666.

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To identify the factors that impact residents’ transition and adjustment to long-term aged care and influence their relocation experience.


The transition to long-term aged care can be an emotional and stressful event for older people as well as their families and carers. The challenges triggered by relocation derive from home being on the move. The concept of home and Bridges’ three stages of transition framework provide conceptual models for better understanding the needs and aspiration of older people who are in the process of this late life transition.


We searched Academic Search Premier, Cinahl, Medline, PyscINFO, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection and Scopus databases for observational, descriptive studies published between January 1995 and July 2013 using subject headings and free-text search terms including adjustment, nursing homes, relocation and transition.

Results and discussion

The search identified 348 potentially relevant articles. Once duplicates were removed, 214 articles were screened for inclusion in this review; 42 articles were assessed for eligibility, resulting in 19 high-quality observational, descriptive studies that met the inclusion criteria. Key determinants of residents’ relocation experience include the extent to which they were able to exert control over the decision to move to an aged care facility, preserve their autonomy, and retain meaningful social relationships. Encouraging the development of new relationships with other residents and staff is an important role for staff to play. Providing residents with opportunities to talk about their feelings, their life experience, and their involvement in the decision to relocate to an aged care facility can help them in their transition to an aged care facility. Preadmission screening that provides staff with an understanding of personal, lifestyle and cultural needs that might facilitate improved transition may also be beneficial in care planning.

Conclusion and implications

An understanding of the factors that impact residents’ transition to long-term aged care, and their experience of relocation will assist aged care providers to create the conditions to ease adjustment anxiety and to facilitate a person's transition into his/her ‘last home’.

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