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Keywords:

  • caring;
  • long-term care;
  • older people;
  • spouses;
  • visiting

Summary

  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the visiting experience of wives whose husbands had been admitted to a long-term care institution.
  • The study employed a longitudinal and prospective design and combined qualitative and quantitative approaches.
  • The data were drawn from a larger study designed to explore the transition to quasi-widowhood.
  • This article reports on one aspect of spousal caregiving following the admission of a husband to a long-term care setting, i.e. visiting.
  • In this study, wives visited frequently. Their reasons for visiting included love and devotion, duty and obligation, the monitoring of husbands' well-being and the provision of assistance to both husbands and staff. They engaged in task performance and social interaction during visiting. Their feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment with visiting were associated with their husbands' well-being and feeling useful.
  • Over the 9-month period of the study, two patterns of visiting and involvement emerged that were associated with different outcomes related to depression, morale and satisfaction with institutional dimensions of care.