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Background: Heart failure (HF) dyadic self-care science is advancing rapidly, as evidenced by recent theoretical work, literature reviews, and multiple empiric studies. Typologies, once considered archaic, are now viewed as person-oriented classification systems that allow a whole-system view of information patterns. This whole-system view is particularly needed to understand complex tasks like dyadic HF self-care. Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review the initial conceptualization of an HF care dyadic typology and the present advances in our thinking and suggest future directions for this clinically relevant classification system. Conclusions: Development and testing of the typology across 5 studies resulted in a well-characterized, pragmatic and parsimonious, person-oriented classification system for understanding how patients and informal caregivers conduct patients' HF self-care at home. The 4 types are characterized as 2 individually oriented types-type I, patient oriented; type II, caregiver oriented; and 2 relationally oriented types-type III, collaboratively oriented; and type IV, incongruently oriented. We have devised a single-item measure of typology group that can be assessed in the clinical setting. Once this information is ascertained, the clinician can personalize the plan of care to the realities of the dyad. Implications: Dyads that disagree on who is responsible for self-care may forego or delay action, resulting in self-care failures with subsequent HF advancement, hospitalization, and mortality. As the HF dyadic self-care science has advanced, we have come to appreciate the complexity that arises when 2 individuals work together on 1 complex task-HF self-care.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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