Family-paid caregivers in hospital health care in China




The aims of this study were to identify the attitudes and perceptions of nurses towards family-paid caregivers, to examine the roles of caregivers in hospital bedside nursing care and to describe the supervision of family-paid caregivers by nurses.


The inadequacy of nurse staffing and the Chinese tradition emphasising family responsibility have established family-paid caregivers as an important workforce for inpatient bedside nursing care in China.


This was a descriptive study combining qualitative interviews with a quantitative cross-sectional questionnaire survey.


Six nurses were interviewed and 209 family-paid caregivers were surveyed.


According to the respondents, patients relied on the caregivers to receive assistance and care during hospitalization and family-paid caregivers were involved in most of the bedside nursing care.


The heavy workload of nurses and staffing inadequacy have led to a severe need for caregivers to provide bedside nursing care within hospitals in China. The roles of family-paid caregivers need to be defined and closely monitored.

Implications for nursing management

Proper management of the caregivers should be strengthened and the hospital nursing workforce encouraged to take over bedside nursing care as essential strategies for improving nursing care quality and the patients' satisfaction with the hospitals.