Aspects of family caregiving as addressed in planned discussions between nurses, patients with chronic diseases and family caregivers: a qualitative content analysis

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Background: Caregiving by family members of elderly with chronic conditions is currently intensifying in the context of an aging population and health care reform in the Netherlands. It is essential that nurses have attention for supporting roles of family caregivers of older patients and address family caregiving aspects on behalf of the continuity of care. This study aims to explore what aspects of family caregiving were addressed during planned discussions between nurses, patients and family caregivers in the hospital.
Methods: Qualitative descriptive research was conducted using non-participant observation and audio-recordings of planned discussions between nurses, older patients and their family caregivers as they took place in the hospital.
Through purposive sampling eligible patients (≥ 65 years) with one or more chronic conditions were included. These patients were admitted to the hospital for diagnostics or due to consequences of their chronic illness.
Retrospective chart review was done to obtain patient characteristics. Data were collected in November/December 2013 and April/May 2014 in four hospitals. Qualitative content analysis was performed using the inductive approach
in order to gain insight into addressed aspects of family caregiving.
Results: A total of 62 patients (mean age (SD) 76 years (7.2), 52% male) were included in the study, resulting in 146 planned discussions (62 admission and discharge discussions and 22 family meetings). Three themes were identified
regarding addressed aspects of family caregiving. Two themes referred to aspects addressing the patients’ social network, and included ‘social network structure’ and ‘social network support’. One theme referred to aspects
addressing coordination of care issues involving family caregiving, referred to as ‘coordination of care’.
Conclusions: During discussions nurses mostly addressed practical information on the patients’ social network structure. When specific family caregiving support was addressed, information was limited and nurses did not seem to
explore the nature of the family support. Patients discharge and after care needs were addressed occasionally as aspects of coordination of care. Current nursing policies could be evaluated on nursing and family oriented theories.
Implications for education could include mirroring study findings with nurses in a group discussion to enhance their awareness on family caregiving aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Nursing
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2017


  • nursing
  • chronic diseases
  • family care


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