Supporting relationships between family and staff in continuing care settings

J Fam Nurs. 2009 Aug;15(3):360-83. doi: 10.1177/1074840709339781. Epub 2009 Jun 16.


In this Canadian study, a participatory action research approach was used to examine the relationships between families of residents of traditional continuing care facilities and the health care team. The objectives were to (a) explore the formation and maintenance of family-staff relationships, with attention paid to the relational elements of engagement and mutual respect; (b) explore family and staff perspectives of environmental supports and constraints; and (c) identify practical ways to support and enhance these relationships. Results indicate that the resource-constrained context of continuing care has directly impacted family and staff relationships. The nature of these relationships are discussed using the themes of "Everybody Knows Your Name," "Loss and Laundry," "It's the Little Things That Count," and "The Chasm of Us Versus Them." Families' and staff's ideas of behaviors that support or undermine relationships are identified, as are concrete suggestions for improving family- staff relationships in traditional continuing care settings in Canada.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Family Nursing
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Housing for the Elderly* / ethics
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Professional-Family Relations* / ethics
  • Trust