The Context of Caregiving in Heart Failure: A Dyadic, Mixed Methods Analysis

Publication Name

Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing


Background Caregiving for persons with heart failure (HF) varies based on the individual, family, and home contexts of the dyad, yet the dyadic context of HF caregiving is poorly understood. Objective The aim of this study was to explore dyadic perspectives on the context of caregiving for persons with HF. Methods Family caregivers and persons with HF completed surveys and semistructured interviews. Investigators also photographed caregiving areas to complement home environment data. Descriptive qualitative analysis resulted in 7 contextual domains, and each domain was rated as strength, need, or neutral. We grouped dyads by number of challenging domains of context, categorizing dyads as high (=3 domains), moderate (1-2 domains), or minimal (0 domains) needs. Quantitative instruments included the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, ENRICHD Social Support, HF Symptom Severity, and Zarit Burden Interview. We applied the average score of each quantitative measure to the groups derived from the qualitative analysis to integrate data in a joint display. Results The most common strength was the dyadic relationship, and the most challenging domain was caregiving intensity. Every dyad had at least 2 domains of strengths. Of 12 dyads, high-needs dyads (n = 3) had the worst average score for 7 of 10 instruments including caregiver and patient factors. The moderate-needs dyads (n = 6) experienced the lowest caregiver social support and mental health, and the highest burden. Conclusion Strengths and needs were evident in all patient-caregiver dyads with important distinctions in levels of need based on assessment of multiple contextual domains. Comprehensive dyadic and home assessments may improve understanding of unmet needs and improve intervention tailoring.

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National Institute of Nursing Research



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