Mindfulness in Eldercare- A Perspective for Professionals (2013)
The approach to eldercare will have to be modified. Amongst the reasons for this are demographic change and a more demanding generation of baby-boomers. Another cause is the combination of high work load and staff shortage leading to stress and burnout in caregivers. As a result, services to elder clients are reduced and suffer.
The aim of this paper, which was commissioned by Kustaankartano, is to find out how mindfulness affects the caring/work situation and how it can be applied in elder care.
A deductive content analysis of ten articles was carried out, using Carper’s (1978) Four Fundamental Patterns of Knowing as the theoretical framework.
It was found that mindfulness affected all four patterns (empirics, esthetics, personal and ethical knowledge). Effects showed in an increase of open-mindedness, presence and compassion, self-awareness, and an awareness of ethical issues as well as an overall change of perception. Salutogenic outcomes, such as decrease in stress and fatigue and increase in physical and psychological health were observed.
The findings suggest that mindfulness practice is recommendable for caregivers, to allow for better work conditions resulting in client-centered care. It is recommended to integrate mindfulness training in colleges as part of the professional training as well as in organisations.
There are more approaches to mindfulness than those that have been studied here, which were mostly Mindfulness Based Interventions on the basis of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Cultural differences were not taken into account due to English-language studies only. Using the four patterns of knowing, the search brackets were defined narrowly which may have resulted in restricted findings. The same is true for the defining of categories and their subsequent evaluation and interpretation.
Mindfulness, Eldercare, Mindfulness Based Interventions, Carper’s Four Fundamental Patterns of Knowing, Kustaankartano