Negotiating the balance: The triadic relationship between spousal caregivers, people with dementia and Admiral Nurses

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Informal caregiving for a person with dementia often takes place within a health care triad, whose members include the caregiver, the care-recipient and the health care-professional. The aim of the current study was to explore how the members work together with this triadic context. Six spousal caregiving dyads and the three Admiral Nurses who worked with the couples were interviewed. Transcripts of these interviews were analysed to form six case studies, each containing the perspectives of the three members of the triad. The processes emerging in these case studies were encompassed under an overarching dynamic process of ‘negotiating the balance’. This describes the ongoing struggle of the members to balance the views of the other members against their own needs. Coalitions could occur as members worked together to tackle problems. The findings of this study highlight the importance of exploring the perspectives of all members of the triad. This should help health care professionals to improve the quality of the support they provide to caregivers and care-recipients.

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