Qualitative Analysis of A Nurse's Responses to Stroke Caregivers on A Web-Based Supportive Intervention

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Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation


Background:Approximately 800 000 people experience a stroke every year; most are cared for by unpaid family members in home settings. Web-based interventions provide 24/7 access to education/support services and have been explored in the literature with family caregivers dealing with chronic conditions. Current research into nurses' web-based interactions with caregivers in these interventions is lacking. Objective: The aim of this qualitative secondary data analysis was to examine a nurse specialist's responses and advice that she gave in a web-based supportive intervention for stroke family caregivers used in a randomized controlled trial for 1 year. Methods: Using a qualitative research design, caregivers were recruited from rehabilitation facilities in Ohio and Michigan (n = 36). They accessed the intervention's email forum and discussion group facilitated by the nurse. These email message data were examined using rigorous content analysis. Results: The caregivers were primarily white women caring for a spouse, with an average age of 54 years. From the 2148 email messages between the nurse and caregivers, five themes emerged and were drawn to Friedemann's Framework. These themes included: getting to know the situation (Friedemann's coherence and individuation), validating emotions (individuation), promoting self-care (individuation), assisting in role adaptation (system maintenance and individuation), and providing healthcare information (system maintenance and individuation). Conclusions: These caregivers of stroke survivors were asking for advice, seeking support, and looking for information from an advanced practice nurse. Nurses, and others, in supportive roles can use these findings to promote informed care and directed interventions for caregivers dealing with stroke and its outcomes.