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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2006 Aug;12(8):380-9.

Characteristics and views of family carers of older people with heart failure.

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  • 1Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing, University of Sheffield. S.barnes@sheffield.ac.uk



to explore the characteristics and views of the family carers of older people with heart failure.


213 family carers of heart failure patients >60 years were recruited from UK general practitioner (GP) practices. Carer strain, quality of life (QOL) and service satisfaction questionnaires were completed every 3 months for 2 years, as well as 16 interviews with patients and carers, and 9 focus groups with health care professionals.


76% of carers were female, 70% were >60 years and 73% were spousal carers. Predictors of carer strain were symptoms of depression, age and patient NYHA. Predictors of lower QOL were: spousal carer; 2+ health conditions and symptoms of depression. Qualitative findings related to the change in circumstances, impact of responsibilities and health conditions of the family carers.


carers were mainly older women, often experiencing multiple health conditions. Addressing the practical and emotional support required presents a challenge for specialist palliative care in responding to calls for increased involvement in heart failure. A shared care model with liaison between specialist heart failure nurses, cardiologists, primary care teams and hospice services is advocated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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