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Caregivers of family members with dementia described the experience of quality respite as a 3 phase cognitive journey towards a sense of “being free”

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QUESTION: How do caregivers of family members with dementia experience respite?


Qualitative interpretive approach.


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


10 white caregivers (8 wives, 1 husband, and 1 son) who were 47–82 years of age (mean age 70 y) were recruited from self help groups, informal community connections, and home care agencies. 9 of the caregivers were retired, and the duration of caregiving ranged from 6 months to 10 years (mean 5 y). 6 of the care recipients had Alzheimer's-type dementia and 4 had multi-infarct dementia associated with stroke.


Data saturation determined the number of caregivers interviewed. Each caregiver participated in 2 indepth, loosely structured, 60–90 minute interviews (2 months apart) to discuss their experiences of caregiving and respite. Data analysis procedures included substantive coding, memoing, and integrative diagramming. Credibility was established by 2 other researchers verifying the analytical codes and emerging themes. During the second interview, …

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  • Source of funding: National Health Research and Development Program, Canada.

  • For correspondence: Dr V R Strang, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G3, Canada. Fax +1 780 492 2551.