Small-scale, homelike facilities in dementia care: A process evaluation into the experiences of family caregivers and nursing staff

Hilde Verbeek*, Sandra M. G. Zwakhalen, Erik van Rossum, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen, Jan P. H. Hamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Current developments in institutional dementia care aim at the downsizing of facilities and increasing their homelike appearance. Small-scale living facilities are an example of this movement, in which a small group of residents (usually six to eight) live together in a homelike environment. Residents are encouraged to participate in normal daily activities and nursing staff is part of the household with integrated tasks. Despite the increase of these facilities, little is known about experiences of family caregivers of residents and nursing staff. Objective: To gain an in-depth insight into the experiences of family caregivers and nursing staff with small-scale living facilities. Design: A process evaluation was conducted alongside the final measurement of an effectiveness study, using a cross-sectional, descriptive design. Settings: Two types of institutional dementia care in the Netherlands: small-scale living facilities and regular wards in nursing homes. Participants: In total, 130 family caregivers and 309 nursing staff workers in both care settings participated in a survey questionnaire. Additional in-depth interviews were conducted with a random selection of 24 participants in small-scale living facilities: 13 family caregivers and 11 nursing staff workers. Methods: Survey questions for family caregivers focused on care service delivery; questions for nursing staff were related to skills. The interviews especially related to positive and negative aspects of small-scale living facilities and skills for nursing staff. Results: Both family caregivers and staff mainly reported positive experiences with small-scale living facilities, especially the personal attention that nursing staff provides to residents, their involvement with residents and the emphasis on autonomy in daily life. Barriers mainly related to nursing staff working alone during a large part of the day. Family caregivers in small-scale living facilities were more satisfied with the care facility and nursing staff than those in regular wards. Conclusion: The findings oft he study revealed several positive aspects of small-scale living facilities related to physical, social and organizational aspects that could be used as tools to implement changes in institutional dementia care settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Caregivers experience
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing home
  • Small-scale living facilities


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