Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. In this randomized controlled trial, seniors with disabilities in long-term care facilities who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based elder care (MBEC) program experienced significant improvements in their mental health following the intervention.

2. Furthermore, those in the MBEC group also experienced significant improvements in spiritual well-being compared to the control group.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Seniors with disabilities often live in restrictive environments, negatively impacting their mental health and spiritual well-being. Holistic care, including mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), is increasingly important in care settings to address these concerns. Due to the unique challenges that may be faced when incorporating MBIs for seniors in various settings, mindfulness-based elder care (MBEC) programs were developed. However, the direct impact of these programs on mental health and spiritual well-being has not been well-established. Thus, the present study aimed to assess the effect of MBEC programs on the mental health and spiritual well-being of older adults in long-term care.

This randomized controlled trial included 77 participants from northern and central Taiwan. Participants were included if they were 65 years or older, had been living in a residential long-term care institution for at least 3 months, and had an activities of daily living (ADL) score under 100. Participants were excluded if they had a history of major depression, severe sensory and/or cognitive impairments, or could not follow instructions. Participants were randomly assigned to either the MBEC program group (n=38) or the control group (n=39). Participants in the MBEC group attended eight weekly group sessions consisting of MBEC lectures and activities. The control group received usual care and a weekly visit from the research team. The Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form (GDS-SF) was used to assess depression, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to evaluate anxiety, and the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS) to measure spiritual well-being in participants. Participants were assessed at baseline, mid-intervention, post-intervention, and at four weeks follow-up. The primary outcomes were depression and anxiety scores, and the secondary outcome was spiritual well-being.

The results demonstrated that the MEBC group had improvements in both depression and anxiety from baseline to the mid-intervention, post-intervention, and four-week follow-up assessments. The MEBC group also demonstrated improvements in spiritual well-being compared to the control group. However, the study was limited by the exclusion of participants with major mental illnesses, which may have limited the generalizability of the findings. Nonetheless, the present study demonstrated that MEBC programs may be useful in improving the mental and spiritual well-being of seniors with disabilities living in long-term care facilities.

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