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A large body of research reveals the contribution of families to the care of elderly and health-impaired community-dwelling individuals Less is known about the contribution of families to the provision of care following the admission of elderly relatives to a long-term care institution Still less is known of the experience of elderly wives following the institutionalization of their husbands The purpose of this paper is to increase nurses’ awareness, through a review of the literature on family caregiving in later life, of the contribution to care made by elderly wives following the institutionalization of their husbands We also hope to provide direction for clinicians with respect to the needs and concerns of wives, particularly at the time of, and following, the admission of their husbands to long-term care institutions