Family Caregivers' Perceptions of the Resistiveness to Care They Experience Caring for People with Dementia

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:20 AM

Pamela C. Spigelmyer, PhD, RN, CNS
Department of Nursing Administration, Susquehanna Health, Williamsport, PA, USA

Family caregivers today are co-providers of care, assuming care once provided by professional nurses.  Although rewarding at times, providing care for people with dementia is challenging, stressful, and places the overall well being of the family caregiver at risk.  Resistiveness to care is one notably stressful experience for family caregivers.  Currently nursing research related to resistiveness to care focuses on observed behaviors but does not address family caregivers’ perceptions of the episodes of resistiveness.  Family caregivers’ perceptions are their reality of the experience therefore, needs to be fully understood.  Since perceptions of experiences drive the meaning assigned to the experience a descriptive scientific phenomenological method by Giorgi (2009) was utilized for this study.  Descriptive scientific phenomenology incorporates a human science approach, a disciplinary perspective, and is ideal for studying behavioral phenomenon that may not be readily studied by the natural sciences.  The nursing disciplinary perspective used for this study permitted this nurse researcher to grasp objectively the subjective structural meaning assigned to this phenomenon by family caregivers.  The outcome of the descriptive scientific phenomenology method is to identify and define perceptions of an experience.  The purpose of this investigation was to identify commonalities in family caregivers’ experiences of resistiveness to care and build a general meaning structure, which represents essential integrated parts of the experience for the participants.  Institutional Review Board approval was obtained to conduct this study.  Eight dementia family caregivers were recruited from Alzheimer’s support group meetings, provided informed consent and were interviewed individually at a mutually agreed upon location.  Each participant provided in depth descriptions of chosen resistive events that they perceived to have experienced.  Analysis using the scientific phenomenology method included a nursing disciplinary perspective and revealed a structure of resistiveness to care that nurses can use to gain incites into resistiveness to care as perceived by family caregivers.  The identified structure also provides focal points for future research and interventions to help family caregivers to mediate the stress of resistiveness to care.