Objective. This qualitative study explored the kinds of worry that family caregivers experience when their older relatives are hospitalized.
Background. Little is known about what kinds of worries family caregivers may have in association with the hospitalizations of older relatives. An understanding of the different patterns of family worry may help health care teams intervene more effectively to meet family caregiver's needs by reducing their anxiety.
Design. A qualitative descriptive design with Loftland and Loftland (1984) approach for the study of a phenomenon occurring in a social setting was used.
Method. A purposeful sample of 10 participants was obtained that included six family caregivers and four nurses. Participants were recruited from two hospitals in the northwest US. Intensive interviews and participant observations were used for data collection, and Loftland and Loftland's (1984) qualitative approach was used for data analysis.
Results. Family worry was defined as family caregivers’ felt difficulty in fulfilling their roles because of worry. Four categories of family worry were identified as a result of this study: (i) worry about the patient's condition; (ii) worry about the patient's care received from the health care team; (iii) worry about future care for the patient provided by the family caregiver; and (iv) worry about finances.
Conclusions. The findings of this pilot study provide nurses with the initial knowledge of the typology of family worry associated with elderly relatives’ hospitalizations.
Relevance to clinical practice. The findings of this study may sensitize the nurses to more precisely evaluate family caregivers’ worry about their hospitalized elders and provide more effective nursing interventions to improve outcomes of both patients and their family caregivers.