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J Korean Acad Nurs. 2018 Oct;48(5):601-621. Korean. Original Article.
Ryu YM , Yu M , Oh S , Lee H , Kim H .
Department of Nursing, Baekseok University, Cheonan, Korea.
College of Nursing ยท Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea.
College of Nursing, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.
Department of Nursing, Hoseo University, Asan, Korea.
Department of Nursing, Suwon Women's University, Suwon, Korea.


This study aimed to synthesize the caring experiences of Korean family members of patients with dementia through a qualitative meta-synthesis method.


By searching through nine Korean and English databases, we compared 37 qualitative studies on caring experiences of family members of patients with dementia. The selected studies were synthesized through meta-synthesis, proposed by Sandelowski and Barroso (2007).


The meta-synthesis elicited four themes: tough life due to care for patients, changes in relationships, adaptation to caregiver's roles, and new perspectives of life through personal growth. Caregivers were shocked when a sudden diagnosis of dementia was made prior to any preparation on their part. They were tied to their patients all the time and their mind and body got exhausted. Their relationship with patients began to change and they looked at them differently. They experienced conflicts with the other non-caring family members and were alienated from them. They were also socially isolated. However, by building their own care strategies and utilizing social resources, they gradually adapted to their caregiver roles. Finally, they experienced personal growth and acquired a new perspective toward life by accepting their roles and finding meaning in their lives. Shifting the caregiver's centricity from themselves to the patient was the process of becoming human beings who actively constructed their realities while giving meaning to their painful lives and interacting with the environment.


The results of the study can be useful for nurses in understanding the experiences of caregivers of the patients with dementia and in providing them with practical interventions.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.