Informal caregivers often support nursing home residents with dementia in making therapeutic decisions. We explored the perceptions, needs and preferences of informal caregivers of nursing home residents with dementia regarding physical therapy.
We conducted eleven semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was used.
Five themes emerged: 1) visibility and familiarity; 2) communication; 3) aim and content; 4) dosage and location; 5) level of expertise and the role of the physical therapist within the interdisciplinary team. Informal caregivers’ perceptions of physical therapy included a lack of visibility and familiarity. They needed more communication, and empathic communication skills of the physical therapists. Preferences included physical therapy to be enjoyable, accessible and tailored to the needs of the resident.
Physical therapists need to involve informal caregivers in physical therapy care. Implementing shared decision-making will help to get informal caregivers more involved, but has yet to be studied in this setting.

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