Family Health Conversations have Positive Outcomes on Families - A Mixed Method Research Study

Åsa Dorell1, *, Ulf Isaksson1, Ulrika Östlund2, Karin Sundin1
1 Umea University, Department of Nursing, Campus Ornskoldsvik, Box 843, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2 Centre for Research & Development, Uppsala University/Region Gävleborg, Gävle, Sweden

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© 2017 Dorell et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Umea University, Department of Nursing, Campus Ornskoldsvik, Box 843, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden; Tel: +46 660 29 25 28; Fax: +46 660 29 34 69; E-mail:



Having a family member living in a residential home affects the entire family and can be hard to handle. Family members require encouraging and open communication support from nurses during and after relocation to a residential home. A Family Systems Nursing intervention, “Family Health Conversations” (FamHC) was conducted in order to strengthen the health of families having relatives at residential home for older people.


The aims of this study were to evaluate the responses to the Family Health Conversations in families with a member living at a residential home for older people and to integrate the empirical results with a theoretical assumption upon which the intervention was based.


A mixed methods research design was used. The Swedish Health-Related Quality of Life Survey and the Family Hardiness Index were administered before and 6 months after the intervention. Qualitative data was collected by semi-structured interviews with each family 6 months post-intervention. The sample included 10 families comprising 22 family members.


Main finding was that FamHCs helped family members process their feelings about having a member living at a residential home and made it easier for them to deal with their own situations. FamHCs helped to ease their consciences, improve their emotional well-being, and change their beliefs about their own insufficiency and guilt. Seeing problems from a different perspective facilitated the families’ thinking in a new way.


These findings showed that FamHC could be an important type of intervention to improve family functioning and enhance the emotional well-being.

Keywords: Family Hardiness Index, Family Health Conversation, Family Systems Nursing, Intervention, Mixed methods research design, Older people, Transition, Quality of Life.