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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 932381, 9 pages
Research Article

Being a Nursing Home Resident: A Challenge to One's Identity

1Institute of Nursing Science, The Private University of Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT), 6060 Hall in Tirol, Austria
2Nursing Department, University of Verona, 37129 Verona, Italy

Received 14 December 2012; Accepted 28 February 2013

Academic Editor: Lis Wagner

Copyright © 2013 Maria Riedl et al. 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.


Going into a nursing home can turn out to be a critical life experience if elderly people are afraid of losing their independence and identity after having moved into a nursing home. In order to find out what nursing home residents need in their first year after having moved into a nursing home to maintain their identity and self-determination, 20 problem-orientated interviews with residents of three nursing homes in the Austrian province of Salzburg were conducted and analysed based on content analysis according to Mayring. The participants of this study resist against having decisions taken away from them and fight for their independence and identity. In order to be able to cope with these strains, they need the help of family members, professionals, and identity-forming conversations in new social networks in the nursing home. The study participants draw enough strength from their faith in order to fight for their independence. They develop a new identity close to their previous identity by maintaining autonomy and mobility with a clear focus on the future.