Becoming visible – Experiences from families participating in Family Health Conversations at residential homes for older people

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Abstract

Having a sick family member living at a residential home for older people can be difficult for families, who as a result often suffer from feelings of forsakenness and powerlessness. In response, the purpose of this study was to illuminate family members' experiences with participating in Family Health Conversations at residential homes for older persons 6 months after concluding the conversation series. Twenty-two family members who participated in the conversations later took part in group interviews, the texts of which were analyzed according to qualitative content analysis. Findings showed that participating in Family Health Conversations mediated consolation, since within such a liberating communicative interaction, family members for the first time felt visible as persons with individual significance. Family members reported a positive experience involving both being open to each other and speaking and listening to each other in a new, structured way. As a result, families were able to discover their family members' problems and suffering, as well as to identify their family's resources and strengths.

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