Thematic analysis of the experience of making a decision to place a family member with Alzheimer's disease in a special care unit

Res Nurs Health. 2001 Dec;24(6):470-80. doi: 10.1002/nur.10005.


The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth description of the experience of making the decision to place a family member in a special care unit among a diverse sample of family caregivers. To achieve purposive maximum variation of the sample, the sample of 30 family caregivers was chosen from an original study of 256 family caregivers. The sample was randomly stratified according to ethnicity, gender, and relationship to the care receiver. Three independent researchers used Luborsky's method of thematic analysis to analyze the interviews. After mutual consensus, 1565 themes (descriptive statements) were identified and synthesized into 21 topics. The topics were then synthesized into four patterns describing the decision-making experience: moving toward the unavoidable decision, struggling with the decision, seeking reassurance, and remaining connected.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Hospital Units
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care