The aims of this study were to explore nurses' assessments of individualised care in long-term care wards and to examine how their sociodemographic variables were associated with their views of such care.
Although the importance of individualised care is highlighted both by nurses and by older people, there is a limited amount of research about individualised care, especially in the long-term care of older people.
An exploratory design was employed.
Data were collected using questionnaires [Individualised Care Scale (ICS)-Nurse] from nurses (n = 283, n = 215, response rate 76%) working in the long-term care wards (n = 19) of four institutions in 2009. Data were analysed statistically.
Overall, nurses perceived that they supported patient individuality during nursing activities but the care they provided was not so individualised. Nurses perceived that they supported older peoples' individuality in the clinical situation and in decisional control over care well but supported older peoples' individual life situation to a lesser extent. The higher the nurses' age, the longer the working experience in health care or experience in the current ward, the more positive views they had about the support of individuality.
This study identified some shortcomings in the realisation of individuality in the care of older people. Nurses seem to think they generally provide individualised care but this was not necessarily realised in the current evaluations of the care they delivered.
There is need to identify issues that may help in developing individualised care in clinical practice. Nurses' attitude to older people in the geriatric care settings needs exploration. Nurses may focus on physiological needs that may hinder the recognition of older patient's individuality.