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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 913247, 10 pages
Research Article

Spiritual Needs of Elderly Living in Residential/Nursing Homes

1Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
2Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Universität Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany

Received 27 May 2013; Revised 27 June 2013; Accepted 8 July 2013

Academic Editor: Klaus Baumann

Copyright © 2013 Nora-Beata Erichsen and Arndt Büssing. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While the research on spiritual needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases increases, there is limited knowledge about psychosocial and spiritual needs of elderly living in residential/nursing homes. We were interested in which needs were of relevance at all, and how these needs are related to life satisfaction and mood states. For that purpose we enrolled 100 elderly living in residential/nursing homes (mean age years, 82% women) and provided standardized questionnaires, that is, Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ), Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale (BMLSS), Quality of Life in Elders with Multimorbidity (FLQM) questionnaire, and a mood states scale (ASTS). Religious needs and Existential needs were of low relevance, while inner peace needs were of some and needs for giving/generativity of highest relevance. Regression analyses revealed that the specific needs were predicted best by religious trust and mood states, particularly tiredness. However, life satisfaction and quality of life were not among the significant predictors. Most had the intention to connect with those who will remember them, although they fear that there is limited interest in their concerns. It remains an open issue how these unmet needs can be adequately supported.