The ageing of rural Chinese populations is challenging health and social policy, driving growth in rural nursing homes. Living environment plays a role in enhancing elderly quality of life (QoL), however, the impact of the built environment and care services are under-studied. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of the built environment and care services on the QoL of elderly people within rural nursing homes in China.
A total of 242 residents of nursing home were surveyed, of which 76 percent were male and 24 percent were female. In total, 25.6 percent were aged between 60 and 69, 40.1 percent between 70 and 79, 31 percent between 80 and 89, and 3.3 percent were 90 or above. Quantitative data were analyzed through factor analysis, reliability test and multiple regression modeling.
The authors identified six built environment factors (room distance, space, barrier-free design, indoor environment, fire safety, and support facilities) and three services factors (i.e. daily care services, cleaning services, and healthcare services). QoL was measured over four dimensions: QoL, physical health, psychological health, and social relationships. Elderly QoL could be accurately predicted from room distance, space, barrier-free design, indoor environment, daily care services, and cleaning services.
Interventions in design of the built environment and the provision of care services are proposed, including dimensions of living space, heating, and provisions for qualified care providers.