Experiences of family caregivers in green care farms and other nursing home environments for people with dementia: a qualitative study

Bram de Boer*, Hilde Verbeek, Sandra M. G. Zwakhalen, Jan P. H. Hamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BackgroundHaving a match between a nursing home and the preferences of people with dementia is beneficial for their well-being. It is suggested that innovative types of nursing homes such as small-scale living facilities and green care farms create a better match between their care environment and their residents. However whether this is also reflected into the experiences of informal caregivers is not known. Therefore, this study explores what their positive and negative experiences are with regard to green care farms, other small-scale living facilities, and traditional nursing homes.MethodsA qualitative exploratory research design was used. Semi-structured interviews with 43 informal caregivers (2014-2015) were carried out. Topics discussed were: positive and negative experiences with the nursing home and reasons for choice of a particular type of nursing home. Thematic analysis including an iterative process of open, axial and selective coding, was used.ResultsFive themes emerged: (1) physical environment and atmosphere, (2) activities, (3) person-centred care, (4) communication, and (5) staff. Informal caregivers at green care farms were more positive about the physical environment, activities, and person-centred care compared with informal caregivers in the other types of nursing homes. Both positive and negative experiences regarding communication and individual staff members appeared across all types of nursing homes.ConclusionsExperiences of informal caregivers with a nursing home are dependent on the type of nursing home. However, experiences were also often related to individual nursing staff and their interpersonal, human' qualities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019


  • Experiences
  • Green care farms
  • Informal caregivers
  • Nursing home choice
  • Small-scale living

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