Abstract NS 12: Caregiver-Provider Interactions Impact Preparedness of Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors
Background and Purpose: Research illuminates the importance of integrating family caregivers of stroke survivors into the rehabilitation phase of the stroke trajectory. Despite this, caregivers continue to express insufficient preparation for post-discharge care duties, resulting in poor caregiver and survivor mental and physical health. The purpose of this study was to identify how caregivers experienced their interactions with healthcare providers during rehabilitation and how these interactions impacted their perceived preparedness for caregiving.
Methods: We used grounded theory with a symbolic interactionist lens in a secondary analysis of pre-discharge and one-month follow-up interviews of 14 patient/family caregiver dyads from two inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Data were analyzed using card sort, axial coding, and constant comparative methods, focusing primarily on identifying and understanding how caregivers described their interactions with providers.
Results: Caregivers described a circular process of both direct and indirect interactions with providers, each resulting in a level of awareness of preparedness which in turn impacted caregivers’ later interactions with providers. Interactions focused primarily on one of two outcomes - to improve survivor status/functional ability or to improve caregiver preparedness. Caregivers described providers as focused more on immediate survivor-specific outcomes while interactions to improve caregiver preparedness were often initiated by active caregivers. Caregivers who were more passive in their interactions with providers described a lower level of awareness of preparation for caregiving.
Conclusions: Current interactions between family caregivers and healthcare providers in rehabilitation settings focus primarily on immediate stroke survivor outcomes. Although some caregivers are more active in advocating for more preparation of their new role, others are not being assessed or prepared for the care they are expected to provide post-discharge. Further research is warranted on the current state of caregiver assessment for caregiving tasks and level of preparation for care, with inclusion of data from both caregivers and healthcare providers.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.