Development of an Autobiographical Group Work Process for Use with Oriented Nursing Home Residents

Author: Hay, Phyllis A.
This research specifically focused on the need for nursing home residents to be mentally stimulated and involved in helping develop a group work process, which gave them the opportunity to write about themselves, and talk about themselves in group settings. Consequently, when quantitatively evaluated, self-esteem scores increased. Other scholars, and especially those involved with geriatrics, need to know about the group work process and findings associated with this scholarly research.


“This is a remarkable work concerning phenomena that have been too little explored. . . . Hay’s focus is on the cognitively sound residents who are typically there because of serious and persistent physical problems. Nursing home care is largely custodial, with oriented and disoriented residents treated much the same, and, unfortunately for their unique personalities, in an efficient assembly line-like manner. . . . Hay masterfully brings together two elements and focuses them on oriented nursing home residents: the dramatic power of small groups seldom unleashed in these environments, and the cognitive power of autobiographical writing rich in historical detail. . . . a powerful qualitative study topped with a quantitative evaluation of a group based on an ably constructed theoretical framework. . . . This is a model research report. It begins with a tour-de-force of relevant literature, both empirical and theoretical. It carefully and interestingly describes the research in such detail that it is eminently replicable in nursing home or other environments. . . . Students of social work, gerontology, geriatrics, nursing, and other professions relating to the old-old populations can benefit from and will enjoy reading this work.” – Thomas L. Kruse

“. . . thoroughly useful, scholarly, humane, and readable. University teachers and students, nursing home staffs as well as residents and families and the general reader have much to gain from it. . . . a must-read and vital book about life in institutions for the elderly and how we can improve it – brief, stylish and packed with social power. . . . Hay’s knowledge and use of scientific methods are impressive. As she used an experimental and control group design with pre- and post-tests, she employed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Katz Index of ADL (Activities of Daily Living), the Mental Status Questionnaire, and several instruments of her own construction. Numerous appendices include blank copies of these various documents. A comprehensive bibliography also appears in the book. . . . The author conceived this book thoroughly. She executed it carefully, wrote it well, interpreted her data cautiously and qualified her findings properly, It makes a significant substantive contribution and provides a model of how to investigate an important social issue.” – George F. Stine