Breaking up and a new beginning when one’s partner goes into a nursing home: An interview study

Gerd Ahlström, Nina Stååhl Markeling, Ulrika Liljenberg, Helena Rosén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In aging societies worldwide, spouses take on great responsibility for care when their partner continues to live at home. Nursing home placement occurs when the partner becomes too frail due to multimorbidity, and this will cause a change in the spouse’s life. This study aimed to explore the spouse’s experience of their partner’s move to a nursing home. Two interviews were conducted at 9-month intervals within the project entitled “Implementation of Knowledge-Based Palliative Care in Nursing Homes”. Thirteen spouses from both urban and rural areas were included, with an age-range of 60–86 years (median 72). Qualitative content analysis was performed. The main findings were captured in two themes: Breaking up of close coexistence and Towards a new form of daily life. The first encompassed processing loneliness, separation and grief, exhaustion, increased burden, and a sense of guilt. The second encompassed a sense of freedom, relief, acceptance, support and comfort. Professionals in both home care and nursing home care need to develop and provide a support programme conveying knowledge of the transition process to prevent poor quality of life and depression among the spouses. Such a programme should be adaptable to individual needs and should ideally be drawn up in consultation with both partners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number672
JournalHealthcare
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the following foundations that provided financial support. The Swedish Research Council (no VR 2014-2759), the V?rdal Foundation (no 2014-0071), the Medical Faculty, Lund University; and the City of Lund, Sweden. The funders had no role in the design of the study, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, or in the writing the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Funding: We are grateful to the following foundations that provided financial support. The Swedish Research Council (no VR 2014-2759), the Vårdal Foundation (no 2014-0071), the Medical Faculty, Lund University; and the City of Lund, Sweden. The funders had no role in the design of the study, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, or in the writing the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Nursing

Free keywords

  • Elderly health care
  • Frail elderly
  • Multimor-bidity
  • Next of kin
  • Nursing home
  • Palliative care
  • Psychological distress
  • Qualitative research
  • Spouse caregivers
  • Transition

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