Aukelien Scheffelaar, former Nivel PhD student, defended her dissertation on January 20th 2020. She studied the quality of long-term care relationships using a participatory study design. The aim of the dissertation was to develop qualitative instruments for determining and improving the quality of care relationships in long-term care from the clients’ perspective, with active involvement of clients as the co-researchers applying these qualitative instruments.

Clients acted as active co-researchers in this study: they interviewed fellow clients about their experiences with care relationships. Two qualitative instruments were found to be most feasible and usable in long-term care to evaluate the quality of care relationships. Results showed that co-researchers were able to lower barriers to discuss long-term care relationships. They better perceived clients’ experiences and therefore were able to ask questions fitting well with the client perspectives. The study resulted in a toolbox ‘Horen, zien en Spreken’ in which the two qualitative instruments are described to improve the quality of the long-term care relationship together with clients. Short videos of the experiences of co-researchers, care professionals and the researcher can be watched here:

During this study Aukelien Schefferlaar worked as researcher at Nivel research institute, while she was appointed as external PhD candidate at Radboudumc. She wrote five scientific peer-reviewed articles for her dissertation. Now she is working as postdoc at VU Amsterdam.


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