Research focus

Collaboration between relatives of elderly patients and nurses and its relation to satisfaction with the hospital care trajectory

Danish researchers investigated how collaboration between relatives and nurses affects carers’ experiences during admissions. The researchers also examined the relationship between carer satisfaction, carers’ characteristics and specific aspects of collaboration.

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The study had a quantitative cross-sectional design and research was undertaken at two sites. A questionnaire comprising four clusters of questions about collaboration was used to collect data.

A total of 1,156 carers completed the questionnaire, of whom 865 (75%) were women and the mean age was 60.78.

Researchers undertook statistical tests to understand the relationship between the data they had collected and different phases of hospital admissions.

The findings demonstrate that carers who collaborated with nurses tended to be more satisfied with their relative’s care trajectory than those who did not. Low levels of satisfaction were significantly related to low levels of collaboration.

Other predictors for low satisfaction were feelings of guilt and powerlessness, helping for less than one year and providing physical care without psychosocial help.

The authors conclude that satisfaction with care is an outcome of collaboration. They suggest that the structured involvement of carers is useful in hospital care, particularly during admissions and discharge planning, because it enables the exchange of information and knowledge, and assists in the negotiation of expectations.

Collaboration may also reduce carers’ sense of powerlessness and guilt, although more research is needed to test this theory.

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