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Do partners of patients with chronic heart failure experience caregiver burden?

  • Author(s): Agren, Susanna
  • Evangelista, Lorraine
  • Strömberg, Anna
  • et al.
Abstract

To describe the levels and identify independent predictors of caregiver burden in partners of patients with heart failure.Care and support from a partner are important for the well-being of patients with heart failure and may potentially delay disease progression. However, caregiving may be associated with burden and stress and it is therefore important to understand which factors that influence caregiver burden. Theoretical models of caregiving describe the concept of burden as an outcome variable, including decreased well-being and health.Data for this descriptive cross-sectional study were collected between January 2005 and September 2008. The dependent variable consisted of the Caregiver Burden Scale total score index. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, health-related quality of life, symptoms of depression, perceived control, and knowledge on heart failure were included in a regression analysis to determine independent predictors of caregiver burden.The 135 partners had a mean-age of 69 years and 75% were females. Caregiver burden was perceived as medium in 30% of the partners. The patients' Physical Component Score of SF-36 (p<0.001), partners' Mental Component Score of SF-36 (p<0.001) and perceived control (p<0.01) accounted for 39% of the variance in caregiver burden.Caregiver burden was lower when the mental health of the partner and the physical health of the patient were better and the partner experienced higher control over the heart disease. A partner-centered approach to educate and support partners of patients with heart failure is essential to improve the life situation for patient-partner dyads.

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