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Background: The literature on caregiver contributions to heart failure (HF) patient self-care has grown rapidly during the last few years, but theory guiding this growth is lacking. Objective: The purpose of this article is to describe a Situation-Specific Theory of Caregiver Contributions to HF Self-care. Results: We describe theoretical assumptions, the process by which caregivers contribute to HF self-care, factors influencing caregiver contributions to HF self-care, known predictors (caregiver, patient, and dyadic related) and outcomes of caregiver contributions to HF. These outcomes may be caregiver and patient related and positive and/or negative. Caregiver contributions to HF self-care include interacting processes of self-care maintenance, symptom monitoring and perception, and self-care management. Caregiver confidence and cultural values are discussed as important influences on caregiver contributions to HF self-care. Recursive pathways are hypothesized between processes and outcomes. Ten theoretical propositions are proposed. Conclusions: The Situation-Specific Theory of Caregiver Contributions to HF Self-care is still in its infancy, and more research is needed to strengthen the evidence supporting the theory. But at this point, the theory may help to guide future studies addressing caregiver contributions to HF self-care and clinical practice aimed at improving caregiver and patient outcomes.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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