Background: Relatives’ experiences of encounters with nursing staff in residential homes have significance for the relationship with patients as well as for cooperation with the staff. The purpose of this study is to explore the relatives’ experiences of encounters with nursing staff in residential homes.

Methods: The selected method is metasynthesis, which implies a reinvestigation of published research articles with the purpose of bringing analysis to a higher level. Articles were identified in the databases: CINAHL, PubMed, PsykInfo, Proquest: a total of 11 articles and 155 family relatives represented.

Findings: Relatives’ experiences with nursing staff in residential homes can be structured in three phases; entrance, stay and departure. Each phase that relatives experience is parallel to that of the patients, but not identical.

Conclusion: The nursing staff’s encounters with relatives are affected by changing needs that both patient and relatives perceive. Awareness of how relatives experience the needs in each phase may strengthen and further develop relationships between relatives and nursing staff.

Keywords: relatives, health care personal, relationship, nursing home, qualitative research