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In-hospital informal caregivers' needs as perceived by themselves and by the nursing staff in Northern Greece: A descriptive study

Maria Lavdaniti1, Vasilios Raftopoulos2*, Markos Sgantzos3, Maria Psychogiou4, Tsaloglidou Areti5, Charikleia Georgiadou6, Ismini Serpanou7 and Despina Sapountzi-Krepia8

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nursing, Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Nursing Department, Cyprus University of Technology, Mediterranean Research Centre for Public Health and Quality of Care, 215 Paleos dromos Lefkosias-Lemesou, Strovolos, 2029, Nicosia, Cyprus

3 Department of Anatomy, Medical School, University of Thessaly, BIOPOLIS, 41110 Larissa, Greece

4 Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, PO Box 1456, TK 541 01, Thessaloniki, Greece, Finland

5 A.H.E.P.A Hospital, PO Box 1456, TK 541 01, Thessaloniki, Greece

6 G. Papanicolaou Hospital, Exohi Thesalonikis 57010, Thessalonica, Greece

7 Private Practice, 10 Kefalinias street, 16342, Ilioupolis, Athens, Greece

8 Nursing Department, Frederick University, 7, Y. Frederickou Str. Pallouriotisa, Nicosia, Cyprus

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BMC Nursing 2011, 10:19  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-19

Published: 7 October 2011



Informal care is common in many countries, especially in Greece, where families provide care in hospitals. Health education and informational needs are important factors for family members which are often underestimated by nursing staff. The aim of this study was to compare the perceptions of the nurses and the in-hospital informal caregivers about the in-hospital informal caregivers' knowledge and informational needs, as well as the factors that influence these perceptions.


This was a non-experimental descriptive study conducted in three general hospitals in Greece. The sample consisted of 320 nurses and 370 in-hospital informal caregivers who completed questionnaires. Descriptive statistics were analyzed using t-tests; group comparisons were conducted using ANOVA.


The score of the questionnaire for health education and informational needs was significantly greater for informal caregivers (57.1 ± 6.9 and 26.6 ± 2.8) than for nurses (53.4 ± 5.7 and 22.4 ± 3.1) (p < 0.001). For the nursing staff, the factors that influence the informational needs of patients' caregivers were level of education and working experience, while for the caregivers the level of education was independently associated with the score for the health education needs. Finally, age, marital status, and level of education of informal caregivers' were independently associated with informational needs.


The in-hospital informal caregivers perceived that they have more educational and informational needs than the nurses did. The findings of this study also show that the nursing staff has to identify the needs of in-hospital informal caregivers in order to be able to meet these needs.

health education needs; in-hospital care; informal caregivers; informational needs; nursing staff