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Keywords:

  • family caregiving;
  • nursing homes

Kellett UM. International Journal of Nursing Practice 1998; 4: 113–119

Meaning-making for family carers in nursing homes

This ontological hermeneutic study highlights the importance of understanding the human experience of family caring. In contrast to much family caregiving research which focuses upon the home care situation, this study involved in-depth audiotaped conversational interviews and observations with 14 family carers who continue to care within a nursing home context. Thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews/field notes uncovered a number of common themes of meaning which highlight the nature of family caring experience in nursing homes. Discussion of such findings will challenge practitioners to reconceptualise the nurse–resident–family carer relationship, appreciate the many ways in which a family member’s involvement in care provides meaning and significance in their lives, and understand family carers through a process of human relating which fosters families’ meaningful involvement in caring within a nursing home context.