Family involvement in timely detection of changes in health of nursing homes residents: a qualitative exploratory study
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Aims and objectives To explore family perspectives on their involvement in the timely detection of changes in their relatives' health in UK nursing homes. Background Increasingly, policy attention is being paid to the need to reduce hospitalisations for conditions that, if detected and treated in time, could be managed in the community. We know that family continue to be involved in the care of their family members once they have moved into a nursing home. Little is known, however, about family involvement in the timely detection of changes in health in nursing home residents. Design Qualitative exploratory study with thematic analysis. Methods A purposive sampling strategy was applied. 14 semi-structured one-to-one telephone interviews with family members of people living in 13 different UK nursing homes. Data were collected from November 2015 to March 2016. Results Families were involved in the timely detection of changes in health in three key ways: noticing signs of changes in health, informing care staff about what they noticed, and educating care staff about their family members' changes in health. Families suggested they could be supported to detect timely changes in health by developing effective working practices with care staff. Conclusion Families can provide a special contribution to the process of timely detection in nursing homes. Their involvement needs to be negotiated, better supported, as well as given more legitimacy and structure within the nursing home. Relevance to clinical practice Families could provide much needed support to nursing home nurses, care assistants, and managers in timely detection of changes in health. This may be achieved through communication about their preferred involvement on a case-by-case basis as well as providing appropriate support or services. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.