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Can J Nurs Res. 2003 Dec;35(4):38-56.

Seeking support: caregiver strategies for interacting with health personnel.

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  • 1Capital Health Home Care, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

Support from health professionals can assist family caregivers and have a positive impact on their health. The purpose of this study was to explore women's perceptions of support from community resources while caring for a family member with dementia. The research questions were: What factors influence female caregivers' interactions with health personnel when seeking support? What strategies do women employ in interactions with health personnel to secure support? Symbolic interaction was the theoretical foundation for the study, which included secondary analysis of 62 interviews with 20 women concerning their caregiving experience. In addition, new data were collected from 2 focus groups with 8 volunteers recruited from among the original 20 participants. The data indicated that the women's expectations of their caregiving role and their appraisal of the care recipient influenced their interactions with health personnel when seeking support. They employed 4 broad strategies: collaborating, getting along, twigging, and fighting/struggling. A woman's use of strategies varied according to the degree of mutuality in decision-making with staff and was accompanied by both positive and negative experiences. These findings confirm the importance of mutuality in relationships with health personnel and support the use of partnership and empowerment models of professional practice.

PMID:
14746120
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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