Free-text comments: understanding the value in family member descriptions of hospice caregiver relationships

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2012 Mar;29(2):98-105. doi: 10.1177/1049909111409564. Epub 2011 May 23.


Invitations for free-text comments on surveys provide family members of hospice patients an opportunity to "tell" their story of the hospice experience and caregiver relationships during the last months of life. These comments are a rich source of data for understanding the complex interpersonal relationships that influence patient/family perceptions of both quality of care and quality of life. Analysis of 438 free-text comments provided by 243 hospice family members revealed 5 emergent caregiver relationship themes: knowledge, skills, and abilities; empathy and compassion; trust and acceptance; communication experience and time spent with caregiver. Findings support the value of free-text comments to explain or add depth to quality assessments, modify therapeutic interventions, and identify strategies for process improvement that advance hospice quality of care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hospice Care / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Southeastern United States
  • Surveys and Questionnaires