The healthcare problems of individuals are often solved without the intervention of professionals through family caregiving. Population ageing, a shortage of professionals and cost-control in the healthcare sector1, increase the importance of family caregiving in most west-European countries, where comparative research has shown that national governments no longer take full responsibility for care services.2 The involvement of family caregivers, however, is not without problems. Family caregivers can experience problems while providing care and while realising their need to fully participate in society.3,4 One cause of those problems involves the different conceptions of ‘family care’ that are in use, which has meant that the position of family care compared with other types of care is not clear. Moreover, the plurality of definitions of family care is not beneficial for fine-tuning between policy and practice. For the healthcare sector to function properly, such fine-tuning is indispensable.