Interventions to foster family inclusion in nursing homes for people with dementia: a systematic review

Ramona Backhaus*, Linda J. M. Hoek, Erica de Vries, Jolanda C. M. van Haastregt, Jan P. H. Hamers, Hilde Verbeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


Background Family inclusion in nursing homes is central to the provision of individualized care for people with dementia. Although positive effects can be recognized, barriers have been identified that hamper family inclusion in nursing homes. Specifically for people with dementia, insight into the content of interventions to foster family inclusion is lacking. Methods A systematic review was performed by systematically searching the databases PubMed, Cinahl, PsycInfo and Embase. Studies were eligible if they examined (1) nursing home settings, (2) interventions to foster the inclusion of family members from people with dementia, (3) were original research articles in which effects/experiences of/with these interventions were evaluated, and (4) were written in English, Dutch or German. Findings were summarized systematically. Results Twenty-nine studies were included. Two interventions were targeted at creating family-staff partnerships from a two-way perspective. Other interventions focused on single components, such as including family members in formal decisions (n = 9), enabling them to make better informed decisions and/or participate more actively (n = 7), or providing psychoeducation for family members (n = 3). Within the interventions, family and staff members are often treated differently. Effects on actual increase in family inclusion remain unclear. Conclusions Very few interventions exist that try to enhance equal family-staff partnerships in nursing homes. Future interventions should pay specific attention to mutual exchange and reciprocity between family and staff. As little is known about promising (components of) interventions to foster family inclusion in nursing homes for people with dementia, more effectiveness research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number434
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


  • Family involvement
  • Long-term care
  • Psychogeriatrics

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