Caring for Family Caregivers of Geriatric Patients: Results of a Participatory Health Research Project on Actual State and Needs of Hospital-Based Care Professionals

Theresia Krieger, Regina Specht, Babette Errens, Ulrike Hagen, Elisabeth Dorant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Because of societal changes, family caregivers are becoming vital in long-term care provision for geriatric patients after discharge from hospital. Hospital-based geriatric care teams need tools to prepare and support family caregivers for their future caregiving role in the home environment. To explore the actual state and needs for implementing a suitable family caregiver support concept in a large geriatric hospital in Germany, a Participatory Health Research methodology was chosen. An academic investigator, assisted by a critical friend, facilitated all research steps. Geriatric care professionals joined as co-researchers and performed qualitative data collection using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The entire co-research team took part in the thematic analyses. The existing family caregiver support was perceived as uncoordinated and incomplete, and a lack of knowledge about support programmes in the community was apparent. The needs regarding a comprehensive family caregiver support concept that acts on both individual caregiver as well as on system level, but also connects the two levels, were formulated. High grades of participation of hospital-based co-researchers could be achieved. A critical reflection on the research strategy revealed that the participatory methodology, although time-consuming, was perceived as a useful strategy within the hierarchically organized hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5901
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • family caregiver support
  • geriatric patient care
  • actual state and needs assessment
  • health system development
  • participatory health research
  • LIFE

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