Objective: The transition of the non self-sufficient eldery person from the home to a residential care is complex and characterized by a wide range of ambivalent emotional experiences in all actors involved. The aim of the current research was to investigate and describe how professionals working in residential care perceive the caregivers, their needs and emotional experiences in this transition, how they perceive their own needs and emotions in relation to caregivers, as well as how they describe possible responses to both needs. Methodology: The research design was qualitative: interviews were administered to 9 different professionals of a residential care structure located in Northern Italy. Results: Findings showed that professionals were aware of the multiple and ambivalent emotions experienced by the caregiver in this transition, and the motivations leading to the institutionalization of their loved one. The professional also recognized the importance of family members in the care plan, but at the same time showed how, practically, there are no spaces for effective and real involvement of informal caregivers. The precision with which professionals recognized the emotions and motivations of the family member did not always correspond to a similar awareness of their own emotional experiences and of the way they act in the relationship with the family member, thereby indicating a specific need for training and accompaniment of the professional figures in this complex relationship.
Keywords: Elderly patient; dementia; caregiving stress; formal caregiver; informal caregiver.