Relatives' perspectives on encounters and communication in nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic: a qualitative interview study
- Eriksson, Elisabet, Hjelm, Katarina
- Relatives' perspectives on encounters and communication in nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic: a qualitative interview study
- BMC Geriatrics
Background: Relatives of nursing home (NH) residents have experienced national or local restrictions on visiting their elderly family member during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, many NHs have a multicultural environment, as staff, residents and their relatives speak different languages. Thus far, studies of remote communication with staff with limited language skills during the Covid-19 pandemic are lacking.Aim: The aim of the present study was to explore relatives' experiences of encounters and communication with staff and residents in NHs during the Covid-19 pandemic.Method: An explorative qualitative study using semi-structured telephone interviews with 17 relatives of NH residents (12 women and 5 men). Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis to identify four main categories and nine sub-categories.Results: Communicating during visiting restrictions was challenging, and relatives experienced ups and downs when trying to stay in contact with NH residents and staff. Relatives received general information, but desired information about residents' everyday life without having to ask for it. Moreover, remote communication was difficult for residents with hearing impairment or dementia. Even relatives who understood different languages had to develop strategies to communicate with staff with limited language skills in Swedish and English. Relatives did not mention using translating applications to facilitate communication.Conclusion: During visiting restrictions, relatives lacked information about residents' everyday life and found communication with staff with limited language skills challenging. For this reason, and to enable communication with staff with limited language skills, there is a need to find practical and technical solutions for facilitating remote communication between relatives, residents and staff at NHs.