Contextual Exploration of a New Family Caregiver Support Concept for Geriatric Settings Using a Participatory Health Research Strategy

Elisabeth Dorant*, Theresia Krieger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care support system within the home environment. Comprehensive caregiver support programs require collaboration and coordination within the system. A new public health concept, Vade Mecum, aims to harmonize and professionalize family caregiver support initiatives in geriatric care settings in the Euregion Maas-Rhine. Exploration of the new concept recently started in Germany to gain in-depth insight into current support and the needs of the geriatric care team and family caregivers. Within the context of an exploratory qualitative study, a participatory health research (PHR) strategy was applied to make optimal use of experience and knowledge from the system. Care professionals, engaged as co-researchers, were responsible for decisions about the research question, data collection methods and procedures of engaging family caregivers. A research team representing all professions within the geriatric department was formed. Research objectives were formulated and an appropriate mix of qualitative data collection methods consisting of interviews, focus groups and story-telling was chosen. Needs and expectations of the new concept, and practical solutions for involving family caregivers were discussed. A PHR strategy resulted in initiating a qualitative study in a geriatric care setting carried out by care professionals from the department. Knowledge was generated in a co-creative manner, and co-researchers were empowered. A comprehensive understanding of the system serves as a starting point for advancement of the new family caregiver concept.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1467
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • participatory health research
  • family caregiver support
  • geriatric department
  • engagement
  • exploration
  • complex intervention
  • professional capacity building
  • CARE
  • HOME

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