• meaning in caring;
  • family caregiving;
  • home care;
  • community nursing

Meaning in caring: reconceptualizing the nurse–family carer relationship in community practice¶To date family caregiving studies have considered family caring in primarily practical terms such as `how to do' and `how to cope'. Research efforts have focused upon exploiting the productive elements of a certain conception of the essence of family caregiving. Thus despite a wealth of studies, the question of the nature of family caregiving is not well understood. This ontological-hermeneutic study highlights the importance of understanding the human experience of family caring at home. The study involved in-depth audio-taped interviews with seven family carers who care for an older relative at home. Thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews uncovered a number of common themes which highlighted unique and shared meanings family carers ascribed to their everyday existence as carers. The findings will challenge practitioners to reconceptualize the nurse–family carer relationship, to appreciate the many ways in which family members' involvement in care provides meaning and significance to their lives, and to understand family carers through a process of human relating which fosters families' meaningful involvement in caring at home.