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Hooker SA, Schmiege SJ, Trivedi RB, Amoyal NR, Bekelman DB. Mutuality and heart failure self-care in patients and their informal caregivers. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing : Journal of The Working Group On Cardiovascular Nursing of The European Society of Cardiology. 2018 Feb 1; 17(2):102-113.
BACKGROUND: Heart failure is a progressive condition characterized by frequent hospitalizations for exacerbated symptoms. Informal family caregivers may help patients improve self-care, which may in turn reduce hospitalizations. However, little is known about how mutuality, defined as the quality of the patient-caregiver relationship, and caregiver burden affect self-care. OBJECTIVE: This study examines the associations among mutuality, patient self-care confidence (beliefs in abilities to engage in self-care behaviors) and maintenance (behaviors such as medication adherence, activity, and low salt intake), caregiver confidence in and maintenance of patient care, and caregiver perceived burden. METHODS: This study used cross-sectional baseline data from a multi-site randomized clinical trial of a symptom and psychosocial care intervention. Patient-caregiver dyads ( N = 99) completed self-report surveys of mutuality and self-care confidence and maintenance, and caregivers completed a measure of caregiver burden. Path analysis, with actor (effects within a person) partner (effects across the dyad) interdependence model paths and regression models were used to examine the associations among mutuality, caregiver burden, and self-care. RESULTS: The majority of patients ( M age = 66, 21% female) and caregivers ( M age = 57, 81% female) were spouses (60%). The path model demonstrated significant actor effects; patients and caregivers with better mutuality were more confident in patient self-care ( p < .05). Partner effects were not significant. Regression models indicated that caregivers with greater mutuality reported less perceived burden ( p < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Mutuality in patient-caregiver dyads is associated with patient self-care and caregiver burden and may be an important intervention target to improve self-care and reduce hospitalizations.