Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Patient and caregiver congruence: the importance of dyads in heart failure care.

Retrum JH, Nowels CT, Bekelman DB. Patient and caregiver congruence: the importance of dyads in heart failure care. The Journal of cardiovascular nursing. 2013 Mar 1; 28(2):129-36.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Informal (family) caregivers are integrally involved in chronic heart failure (HF) care. Few studies have examined HF patients and their informal caregiver as a unit in a relationship, or a dyad. Dyad congruence, or consistency in perspective, is relevant to numerous aspects of living with HF and HF care. Incongruence or lack of communication could impair disease management and advance care planning. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine for congruence and incongruence between HF patients and their informal (family) caregivers. Secondary analyses examined the relationship of congruence to emotional distress and whether dyad relationship characteristics (eg, parent-child vs spouse) were associated with congruence. METHODS: Thirty-four interviews consisting of HF patients and their current informal caregiver (N = 17 dyads) were conducted. Each dyad member was asked similar questions about managing HF symptoms, psychosocial care, and planning for the future. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the general inductive approach. RESULTS: Congruence, incongruence, and lack of communication between patients and caregivers were identified in areas such as managing illness, perceived care needs, perspectives about the future of HF, and end-of-life issues. Seven dyads were generally congruent, 4 were incongruent, and 6 demonstrated a combination of congruence and incongruence. Much of the tension and distress among dyads related to conflicting views about how emotions should be dealt with or expressed. Dyad relationship (parent-child vs spouse) was not clearly associated with congruence, although the relationship did appear to be related to perceived caregiving roles. CONCLUSIONS: Several areas of HF clinical and research relevance, including self-care, advance care planning, and communication, were affected by congruence. Further research is needed to define how congruence is related to other relationship characteristics, such as relationship quality, how congruence can best be measured quantitatively, and to what degree modifying congruence will lead to improved HF patient and caregiver outcomes.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.