• Institutionalization;
  • the aged;
  • relatives;
  • nursing personnel;
  • perception

The purpose of this paper is to describe how relatives in the next generation to elderly patients in institutional care perceive the staff. The study was carried out using unstructured interviews lasting 60/90 min, followed by a semi-structured interview lasting about 30 min for each participant. The interviews were analysed by thematic content analysis. The findings gave a picture of how seven relatives perceived the staff. On the whole, they were content with the physical care given, but they had some doubts about the psychological care. Some were worried about what to do during visiting time. Communication between relatives and staff was on a superficial level and concerned mostly practical matters, and it was the relative who had to take the initiative in interactions. The relatives found it very difficult to express criticism. The environment and the possibilities of being out of doors were of importance to the relatives, since they were aware that the nursing home was their parents' last home. The results of this study provide the impetus for further research on topics relating to relative/staff interaction.