|dc.description.abstract||Background: Attention to the delivery of family-centred care in hospital has increased because of the beneficial role family can play. However, there can be downsides of family involvement, as is shown in chronic care. A university hospital in the Netherlands started a project of the family involvement program (FIP) in post-surgical patient care. The project shows positive quantitative outcomes. Nevertheless, it does not give in-depth insight in experiences of Family caregivers (FCs) who participated in the FIP.
Objective: To explore experiences of family caregivers who participated in the family involvement program during hospital admission at the surgical department of patients undergoing major abdominal surgery.
Method: This study utilized a qualitative research design, situated within an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach. Data were collected from purposively sampled FCs by using semi-structured interviews, 1 to 6 months after hospital admission. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed and analyzed using the IPA method. The study adhered to the COREQ guidelines.
Results: Interviews were conducted with 12 participants (5 males). The length of hospital stays variates between 7 till 135 days. Seven main themes were identified: “being closely involved”, “being meaningful”, “Adopting the role of FC”, “Cooperate with healthcare professionals”, “Losing touch with yourself”, “Strengthen the bond of the relationship”, “Different experiences in previous admissions without FIP”. FCs performed various care activities and experienced the admission as a precious time. There were some hard moments and negative feelings. Above all, the FIP had a positive impact on their relationship and brought them closer together.
Conclusion: Active participation of FCs during hospital admission is valuable. Even though FCs experienced sometimes hard moments they would not have missed it. FCs became a partner in hospital care and performed a variety of basic care activities. However, clear instructions and meeting FCs’ expectations is essential.||