AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore the perceived caring needs in patient-partner dyads affected by heart failure to develop an understanding of potential areas of support.
BACKGROUND: Being affected by heart failure has a great impact on both the patient and the partner but until now contemporary care has remained patient focused.
DESIGN: A qualitative study design was used.
METHODS: Eight focus group interviews were performed, which included nineteen patients diagnosed with heart failure and their cohabiting partner. Patients were aged between 55-89 years and partners' ages ranged from 48-87 years. Data were analysed using qualitative content analyses.
RESULTS: The dyads perceived that caring needs could be summarised in two themes 'Dyads perceive a need for continuous guidance through the different phases of the illness trajectory' and 'Dyads perceive a need to share burden and support with each other and others'. The dyads described a need to learn more about heart failure to be able to manage everyday life. Regular outpatient clinic visits and access to telephone support were vital, and having someone who cared about the well-being of the partners was perceived as comforting. Both the patient and the partner need to be present at the clinic visits. Receiving the same information and being able to ask questions reduce insecurity. Meeting others in the same situation and sharing the burden in group sessions were proposed as an opportunity to support each other and others.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to improve education and support for patient-partner dyads affected by heart failure.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The result shows the importance to provide continuous healthcare contacts throughout the illness trajectory. Furthermore, partners should be included at follow-up, and support groups should be organised so that dyads can meet and support each other.
2014. Vol. 23, no 19-20, 2928-38 p.