Abstract NS6: Factors Affecting Uncertainty in Caregivers of Stroke Survivors
Caregiving for stroke survivors is a known risk factor for morbidity and mortality. Little has been reported on caregiving in the early poststroke period, a time when uncertainty is probably at its highest. Uncertainty has been related to poor health outcomes in other populations. In the early poststroke period caregivers may be uncertain about the potential for recovery and their sudden assumption of the new caregiver role, but factors affecting uncertainty in these caregivers are not known.
Methods: We conducted a prospective, longitudinal observational study and recruited 40 caregivers (68% female, mean age 58±14.22 years, 60% children) and their stroke-survivor relatives (38% male, mean age 76±7.80 years) from acute care settings in the northeastern US. We measured caregivers’ uncertainty using the Perception of Uncertainty in Illness Scale for Family Members (range: 31-155, higher scores: greater uncertainty) and collected caregiver and stroke-survivor sociodemographic, clinical and response characteristics (e.g., coping capacity, caregiver comorbidity, social support, severity of stroke and stroke-survivor functional status and comorbidity) by self-report and chart abstraction. Multivariate stepwise regression was used to examine factors affecting uncertainty within 2 weeks following stroke (T1) and at 6 weeks poststroke (T2).
Results: Uncertainty was high in caregivers at both time points (T1: 83.73±23.47, T2: 85.23±23.94). Caregiver older age (p = 0.001 at T1 and T2) and lower coping capacity (p < 0.001 at T1 and T2) at both time points and stroke-survivor lower functional status at T1 (p = 0.047) were associated with greater caregiver uncertainty.
Conclusions: Caregivers experience persistently high uncertainty during the first 6 weeks poststroke. Caregiver age and coping capacity and stroke-survivor functional status may help identify stroke-survivor caregivers at highest risk for early uncertainty. These caregivers may be in the greatest need of interventions.
Author Disclosures: E. Byun: Research Grant; Significant; John A. Hartford Foundation BAGNC Scholar Award, NIH/NINR T32NR009356, Neuroscience Nursing Foundation, Sigma Theta Tau International Xi Chapter, Frank Morgan Jones Fund. Other Research Support; Modest; NIH/NINR T32NR007088. B.J. Riegel: None. M.S. Sommers: None. N.C. Tkacs: None. L.K. Evans: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.