BACKGROUND: Primary research, including qualitative research, as well as experts working in social services and aged care have identified the mixed feelings carers experience when the person they have been caring for is admitted into a residential aged care facility permanently. They have raised the importance of understanding these experiences as a means to implementing policies and programs that enhance carers' well-being. This systematic review was motivated by the need to use evidence to inform effective and feasible interventions to support carers, and the absence of a systematic review synthesizing the qualitative evidence on how carers experience this transition.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this qualitative systematic review was to identify and synthesize the evidence on the experiences of carers of older people when the person they had been providing care for is admitted permanently into a residential aged care facility, and to draw recommendations from the synthesis of the evidence on these experiences to enhance policy and programming aimed at supporting affected caregivers.
INCLUSION CRITERIA: TYPES OF PARTICIPANTS: All carers of people who had experienced the person they had been caring for at home being moved into a residential aged care facility permanently. PHENOMENA OF INTEREST: Experiences of the caregiver of the older person when the person they have been caring for at home is admitted into a residential aged care facility permanently. TYPES OF STUDIES: The review considered qualitative studies, including but not limited to designs such as phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography and action research. TYPES OF OUTCOMES: The outcomes are in the form of synthesized findings pertaining to carers' experiences when the person they have been caring for is admitted into a residential aged care facility permanently.
SEARCH STRATEGY: A comprehensive search of leading databases which are sources of qualitative published and unpublished studies was conducted between 18 September 2013 and 10 November 2013. The search considered studies reported in English and published from the database inception to 10 November 2013.
METHODOLOGICAL QUALITY: Papers selected for retrieval were assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity prior to inclusion in the review using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. DATA EXTRACTION: Data were extracted from identified papers using the standardized data extraction tool from the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. The data extracted included descriptive details about the phenomena of interest, populations and study methods. DATA SYNTHESIS: The Joanna Briggs Institute meta-aggregative approach for synthesizing qualitative evidence was used. Research findings were pooled using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. Study findings that were supported by the data in primary studies were organized into categories on the basis of similarity of meaning. These categories were then subjected to a meta-synthesis to produce a set of synthesized findings.
RESULTS: Fourteen studies matched the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. From these 14 studies a total of 71 study findings about how carers experience the transition when the person they have been caring for is TRUNCATED AT 500 WORDS.