Family members’ expectations regarding nurses’ competence in care homes: a qualitative interview study

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Structural and cultural changes in the care of older people have influenced nursing practice, creating a need to identify current competency requirements for nurses working in care homes. Family members have an important role in ensuring the well-being of older people living in care homes, and family members’ can provide valuable information about competence requirements.


To explore the expectations of the care home residents’ family members regarding the competence of nurses in care homes for older people.


A qualitative descriptive design was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 care home residents’ family members between March and September 2016. Participants were recruited with help from regional associations and member associations of The Central Association of Carers in Finland and from regional associations of The Alzheimer's Society of Finland. The snowball technique was also used. The data were analysed using inductive content analysis.


Ethics committee approval was obtained from the university committee on research ethics, and written informed consent was obtained from participants.


The care home residents’ family members expected that nurses would be able to interact with and treat people respectfully. Reflective collaboration between the nurse and a family member was also emphasised. Family members expected nurses to provide high-quality basic care and nursing and support residents’ well-being individually and holistically.


Family members’ expectations reflect the need for ethical and interactional competence in the care home. In addition, evidence-based practice competencies are required to provide high-quality care. Nurses’ ability to provide person-centred, individual and holistic care is vital to ensure care home residents’ well-being.

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