Factors Associated With Caregiver Burden in Heart Failure Family Caregivers

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Abstract

Fifty caregivers and 41 heart failure patients participated in a study examining the association of caregiver characteristics and the caregiving environment on caregiver burden. Using a cross-sectional design, caregivers were interviewed face-to-face using a caregiver characteristic/demographic tool designed for this study, the Centers for Epidemiological Studies Short Depression Scale, the Caregiver Reaction Assessment questionnaire, and the New York Heart Association Functional Classification Guide to obtain the caregiver's perception of patient disease severity. Patient medical records were assessed following caregiver interviews for patient demographics, comorbidities, and ejection fraction percentages. Significantly higher levels of burden were found among Caucasian caregivers, those caring for other relatives besides the patient, unemployed caregivers, and single-versus two-family caregivers (respite caregiving). Fifty-one percent of the variance in caregiver burden was accounted for by the variables caregiver advanced age, higher caregiver hours, more caregiver physical health problems, higher levels of caregiver depressive symptoms, and more patient comorbidities. This article concludes with implications for nursing practice and future research.

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