Support groups for carers of a person with dementia who lives at home: A focused ethnographic study

Jette Lauritzen, Merete Bender Bjerrum, Preben Ulrich Petersen, Erik Elgaard Sørensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aims: To explore and understand carer participation in support groups when caring
for a person with dementia who lives at home.
Design: Focused ethnographic design.
Methods: Participant observations and semi‐structured interviews were conducted
from January–December 2015. The data were collected from four support groups in the Danish primary healthcare system. Interviews were conducted with 25 carers. An inductive content analysis of the data was performed.
Results: Three themes were identified: emotional well‐being due to peer and family support, emotional sense of togetherness despite hardships and emotional and ethical considerations in caregiving.
Conclusion: Support group participation with positive peer interaction increases carer self‐esteem and feelings of togetherness, and an awareness of maintaining the care receiver`s dignity and prevention of conflicts with families, resulting in an improvement in carer well‐being, leading to increased motivation to continue caring. Carers who hid their group participation face a potential conflict with the care receiver.
Impact: By sharing positive experiences, carers have increased self‐esteem and feelings of togetherness, which can have a positive impact on their motivation to continue caring. Positive peer interaction encouraged a shift in focus from negative to positive experiences, resulting in an improvement in carer well‐being. Joint group participation prevented conflicts in families. To protect the care receivers, carers kept support group participation a secret. Healthcare professionals could improve carer well‐being by focusing on positive caring experiences in support groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2934
Number of pages2,942
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019


  • disease, health science and nursing

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