Seeking connection: family care experiences following long-term dementia care placement
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Aim. To outline the experiences of family caregivers in Brisbane, Australia who have placed a relative with dementia into long-term care. Background. Whilst the aged care literature in Australia highlights the rising numbers of people with dementia admitted to long-term care, empirical research exploring family and staff relationships and their influence on quality of care remains limited. International research demonstrates that the transition to long-term care is stressful for families and the person with dementia, often resulting in ongoing family and staff conflict. Design. The study utilised a descriptive qualitative design. Methods. A purposive sample of 10 participants from a large study that tested an education intervention took part in the qualitative phase of this mixed method, sequential design study. Semi-structured interviews and confirmatory thematic analysis were used to identify family caregiver experiences following placement of their relative in long-term care. Results. The findings emphasise the increasing isolation and burden of care felt by families prior to admission, which often is perpetuated during long-term care placement and may present as dissatisfaction with care. Conclusions. Improving staff-family relationships has the potential to reduce conflict and to improve the long-term care environment, relieve the pressure of work overload, decrease staff frustration and reduce negative reactions to family caregivers. Relevance to clinical practice. The findings highlight the crucial need for long-term care facilities to support families, as well as the person with dementia, through the transition to the care environment. The resulting improved family relationships with staff, based on negotiation and increasing knowledge of dementia care, can then provide potential to develop more specialised evidence-based dementia care and service delivery.
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Aged Care Nursing