Measurement of the Caregiving Experience in Caregivers of Persons Living With Heart Failure: A Review of Current Instruments
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BACKGROUND: Current evidence suggests that caring for someone with heart failure (HF) often imposes physical and emotional demands on primary caregivers that may lead to emotional distress or impaired quality of life. The purpose of this literature review was to provide a comprehensive description of the measurement tools used for assessing the subjective experience of primary caregivers for persons living with HF. METHODS: CINHAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, the Cochrane Collaboration, and PubMed databases (1985 to June 2006) were searched for studies that directly measured the caregiving experience. RESULTS: Seven studies yielding 6 different instruments were reviewed. The majority of studies were cross-sectional, descriptive, and correlational designs. Caregivers were predominately female spouses with a mean age ranging from 54 to 63 years. CONCLUSIONS: Limitations in study designs and nonstandardized approaches to measurement of caregiving limit the ability to confidently recommend a specific existing tool for measuring this construct in the population with HF. However, on the basis of the results from this review, the Caregiver Reaction Assessment tool seems to have the greatest potential for quantitatively measuring the subjective experience of caregiving in HF. Its ease of administration, strong psychometric properties in the medical populations, and attention to the positive and negative experiences associated with caregiving make it a most promising generic tool.
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