Nordic Journal of psychiatry, 2020

Milieu therapy for hospitalized patients with late-life anxiety and depression: a qualitative study

Background: Milieu therapy (MT) is an important interprofessional part of therapy for persons with late-life anxiety and depression in psychogeriatric inpatient units. Research on how this is conducted is scarce.

Aim: To explore nurses’ and nurse assistants’ experience regarding MT interventions for persons with late-life anxiety and depression and how this is applied and conducted in the everyday life in a psychogeriatric inpatient unit.

Method: Four focus group interviews with nurses and nurse assistants were conducted. Systematic text condensation was used for analyzing and interpreting the data.

Results: MT was described as a dynamic and active process. Conscious individualized cooperation and communication day and night emerged as overarching theme, with following categories: 1. Collecting clues about the patient’s history, challenges and coping strategies. 2. Active use of these clues. 3. Active use of the ward setting as arena for staff to learn from each other, for patients to learn from other patients and as frame for MT in general. Strategies from both psychiatric and dementia care were used in MT interventions.

Conclusion: Results from this study describe content and complexity of MT strategies that can be supportive in everyday practice in psychogeriatric inpatient units and nursing homes, and have the potential to facilitate teaching, supervision and counseling of health professionals, caregivers and patients


Marit Nåvik, Solveig Hauge, Ulrike Sagen