This qualitative study was conducted to examine the decision-making process and its immediate consequences forfamily members who placed an elderly loved one in a long-term care facility. To explore issues related to the placement process, in-depth interviews were conducted with 7 individuals who had recently (6 weeks or less) placed an older relative. Content analyses of the interviews were conducted, and several common themes related to the decision-making process and outcomes emerged. Most of the subjects hadprovided personal care for their elderly relative, so placing their loved one in a nursing home often conflicted with their view of themselves as an ideal caregiver During the process of making the decision, althoughfamily members were given advice and suggestions by health care professionals, this input was viewed as inadequate or even detrimental. Ultimately, subjects described making the decision to place an elderly relative in a long-term care facility as a singular process involving “I” rather than “we”. The positive and negative role of friends emerged as an important influence during and after the placement process. The informal validation of the decision to place by peers was the one interaction that family members identified as helpful during this process.
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