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Keywords:

  • family caregiving;
  • home environmental modifications

Abstract

Although several definitions and categorizations of home environmental modification strategies exist, previous researchers have not addressed whether the conceptualizations developed by clinicians and researchers match the way families think about how they modify the home environment in order to provide care to frail elders. The aim of the analysis reported here was to describe, from the family's perspective, the home environmental modification strategies that they use. Twenty-four caregivers of community-dwelling elders with a variety of impairments were interviewed. Seventeen families provided guided tours of the elder's home and allowed selected observation of some caregiving activities. Forty-four modification strategies were identified and categorized into one of seven home environmental modification purposes: organizing the home, supplementing the elder's function, structuring the elder's day, protecting the elder, working around limitations or deficits in the home environment, enriching the home environment, and transitioning to a new home setting. More research is needed on the processes families use to generate and refine the home environmental modification strategies identified in this study. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 25:357–370, 2002