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Informal dementia caregivers' experiences and perceptions about mealtime care: A qualitative evidence synthesis

Aims: To systematically identify, evaluate and synthesize the available qualitative evidence on the mealtime care experiences of informal caregivers of people with dementia.; Design: A qualitative evidence synthesis using the Thomas and Harden method.; Data Sources: All qualitative and mixed-method studies in English and Chinese were retrieved from PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL, CNKI, WanFang, and Vip from the inception of each database until November 2019.; Review Methods: Two researchers independently selected the studies using qualitative assessment and review instruments for quality evaluation and thematic synthesis for the data analysis.; Results: Ten studies were chosen for this review. The analytical themes identified included injecting a new element, moving forward in the challenge and external supports facilitating better coping.; Conclusion: Community nurses should effectively use resources to provide food-related information and services to families with dementia. Future research should combine informal caregiver experiences and clinical skills to develop high-quality interventions to improve the quality of mealtimes.; Impact: The findings established that informal caregivers experienced not only changes in their roles and concerns but also emotional changes. Informal caregivers develop different coping strategies to adapt to feeding issues without professional support. Although informal caregivers attach great importance to mealtimes and nutrition issues, they experience a lack of information and support services. Community nurses can provide more economical, practical, and accessible information resources based on informal caregivers' perceptions of mealtime care. Future interventions need to be more aware of the importance of dyad or family-centred support services. 

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John Wiley & Sons
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Journal of Advanced Nursing
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