Family caregiving for patients with heart failure: types of care provided and gender differences

Boyoung Hwang, Marie Louise Luttik, Kathleen Dracup, Tiny Jaarsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Knowledge about the potential burden for family caregivers related to the care of patients with heart failure (HF) is limited. The aims of the study were to compare the kind and amount of care provided by partners of HF patients and partners of healthy individuals and to examine the associations between gender and the performance of caregiving tasks.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Caregiving tasks performed by 338 partners of HF patients were compared with those performed by 1202 partners of healthy individuals. Partners (age 70 +/- 9, 76% female) of HF patients were more likely to provide personal care compared with partners (age 65 +/- 7, 66% female) of healthy individuals after controlling for their age. However, the magnitude of the odds ratios (OR) differed by gender of partners (OR for male 6.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.9-11.4; OR for female 3.7; 95% CI 2.7-5.1). Partners of HF patients were more likely to provide emotional care than partners of healthy individuals, controlling for age and gender (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.5-3.6). Male partners of HF patients were more likely to provide personal care compared to female partners of HF patients (OR 1.9; 95% CI 1.1-3.2).

CONCLUSIONS: The care performed by partners of HF patients is above and beyond normal spousal assistance. The study underscores the crucial role of family caregivers in the care of HF patients and encourages health care providers to address the needs of both HF patients and their caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
JournalJournal of cardiac failure
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • caregivers
  • confidence intervals
  • emotions
  • family health
  • health knowledge, attitudes, practice
  • health surveys
  • heart failure
  • humans
  • logistic models
  • middle aged
  • odds ratio
  • patient care
  • sex factors
  • spouses

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