Perceptions and performance of function and physical activity in assisted living communities.

 OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe residents' self-efficacy and outcome expectations with regard to function and physical activity (PA); to measure functional performance and time in PA; to evaluate the fit between the resident and the environment; and to evaluate knowledge, beliefs, and care behaviors of nursing assistants (NAs) in 4 different assisted living (AL) communities.

DESIGN: This was a descriptive study using baseline data from an ongoing intervention study, Testing the Impact of a Function Focused Care Intervention, Res-Care-AL.
SETTING: Four assisted living communities in Maryland.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 171 residents and 96 NAs consented, passed eligibility, and were included in this study.
MEASUREMENTS: Descriptive data were obtained from NAs and residents. Resident data also included self-efficacy and outcome expectations associated with functional tasks and exercise, social support for exercise, and subjective and objective information about function and physical activity. NA data included self-efficacy and outcome expectations, knowledge, and performance of function-focused care.
RESULTS: Residents were mostly female, white, and widowed; needed some assistance with activities of daily living; and engaged in very little PA based on subjective and objective reports. NAs were mostly female and black, had more than a decade of nursing experience, strong confidence but limited knowledge of function-focused care, and performed this care in 76% of observed care interactions. There were no site-specific differences among NAs with regard to beliefs, knowledge, or performance of function-focused care. There were site-specific differences in residents with regard to self-efficacy for functional ability; functional performance; social supports for exercise from experts; and from family, person-environment fit, and PA based on subjective surveys. There were no differences noted based on actigraphy.
CONCLUSION: Residents in AL communities engage in very limited amounts of PA and staff in these sites could benefit from ongoing education about how to increase PA among residents and help them adhere to current guidelines for PA so as to optimize overall health status.