Implementing and Evaluating the First German Young-Carers Project: Intentions, Pitfalls and the Need for Piloting Complex Interventions

Jörg große Schlarmann*, Sabine Metzing-Blau, Wilfried Schnepp
Department of Nursing Science, Witten/Herdecke University, Stockumer Straße 12, D-58453 Witten, Germany

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© Schlarmann et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing Science, Witten/Herdecke University, Stockumer Straße 12, D-58453 Witten, Germany; Tel: ++49-2302-926-377; Fax: ++49-2302-926-318; E-mail:


The aim of the study was to develop, implement and evaluate a concept for the first support program for young carers and their families in Germany. This paper intends to critically review the implementation of that study and describe the problems experienced by the research team, including: the complexity of the intervention itself, the difficulty of finding host organizations, the lack of infrastructure, different values and beliefs about the project aims held between the host organization and the research team, shortage of time, identifying and recruiting families among the hidden population of young carers. These initial problems led to the re-constructuring of the original research design. In order to evaluate factors that influenced these difficulties, the original research intentions, emerging problems and their consequences will be presented.

Keywords: Young carers, complex intervention, implementation process.