Sunday, 17 June 2018

Care-giving by family members

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Caring by family caregivers for family members is a considerable commitment and takes time away from work, leisure and life in general. But how much time do family caregivers spend on caregiving and how much time do they think they spend on it? This was the focus on an article from Spain by Timonet‐Andreu et al. (2018) titled: 'Overestimation of hours dedicated to family caregiving of persons with heart failure' and published in JAN which aimed to: 'profile the family caregivers of people living with heart failure, to determine the perceived and real time devoted to daily care and to identify the factors associated with caregivers’ overestimation of time dedicated to care'.

Nearly 500 patient-family caregiver dyads were involved in the study for three years. Caregivers overestimated the time spent on caring to be twice as much as the time they actually spent on caring. The factors which led them to overestimate caregiving time included the age of the caregiver and the length of the caregiving relationship. In conclusion, the authors say:

'The overestimation of time dedicated to care seems to be related to people living with heart failure and caregivers’ characteristics, such as functional status, caregiver burden, age and cohabitation. These patterns should be taken into account by nurses when carrying out assessments and care planning with these types of patients and their caregivers.

Moreover, objective measures to determine the real amount of time dedicated to caregiving should be developed to facilitate a comprehensive assessment of the caregiver’s situation. If this were done, specific interventions could be designed for caregivers with a strongly distorted perception of the time dedicated to care to detect underlying clinical or social circumstances that could be producing this misconception. This issue could then be addressed by means of educational or behavioural interventions.'

You can listen to this as a podcast


Timonet‐Andreu, E. , Canca‐Sanchez, J. C., Sepulveda‐Sanchez, J. , Ortiz‐Tomé, C. , Rivas‐Ruiz, F. , Toribio‐Toribio, J. C., Mora‐Banderas, A. and Morales‐Asencio, J. M. (2018), Overestimation of hours dedicated to family caregiving of persons with heart failure. J Adv Nurs. doi:10.1111/jan.13727

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