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caregivers, nursing homes, professional-family relations



  1. Maas, Meridean L.
  2. Reed, David
  3. Park, Myonghwa
  4. Specht, Janet P.
  5. Schutte, Debra
  6. Kelley, Lisa S.
  7. Swanson, Elizabeth A.
  8. Trip-Reimer, Toni
  9. Buckwalte, Kathleen C.


Background: Despite the increasing number of individuals with dementia relocated from caregiving at home to a nursing home, there is only a small body of literature examining the influence of institutional family-oriented practices on family member perceptions of care and family-staff relationships.


Objective: The study tested the effects of the Family Involvement in Care partnership intervention on family members' perceptions of their caregiving role, relationships with staff, and satisfaction with the care of relatives with dementia residing in special care units as well as the effects on staff attitudes toward families and staff satisfaction with a caregiving role.


Methods: A quasi-experimental design with nonequivalent groups and repeated pretest and posttest measures was used to examine the effects of the Family Involvement in Care intervention. The study recruited 14 Midwestern nursing home special dementia care units, matched by aegis and staff turnover, and randomized from matched pairs to experimental and control conditions. The samples included 185 family members and 895 staff. The Family Involvement in Care intervention is a protocol for family and staff negotiation of a written partnership agreement. Family caregiver outcomes were measured using instruments pretested for reliability and validity. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling.


Results: With adjustment for multiple tests, statistically significant beneficial intervention effects were found in three areas of family caregiver outcomes (emotional reactions to the caregiving role, perceptions of relationships with staff, and perceptions of care for relatives) and in one of three areas of staff outcomes (staff perceptions of the family caregiving role). For family members, effects were found for the measures assessing loss, captivity, staff disregard, resident activities, and physical care. Some of the intervention effects for family members were found only for caregivers of the same generation as the resident. For staff, effects were found for measures of dominion, disruption by family, and irrelevance of family.


Conclusions: The results of the study indicate that the Family Involvement in Care intervention improves the caregiving experience of family members in nursing homes as well as nursing home staff attitudes toward family members. The intervention did not influence the perceived conflict with staff on the part of family caregivers or the perception of a partnership with family caregivers on the part of staff.