Abstract 2723: Quality of Life in Partners of Patients with Heart Failure; Females Suffer, Males Do Not
Background Little is known on the consequences of living with a Heart Failure (HF) patient on partners. An important shortcoming in caregiving research is the failure to account for the actual involvement in care and to correct for gender differences. This study aims to investigate the quality of life of CHF partners and the impact of gender and the actual involvement in care.
Methods Data were collected, using a cross-sectional design, from 303 partners of HF patients who had been hospitalized at least once in the previous year. All partners (73% female, age 69 ± 8) completed questionnaires at home on quality of life (RAND 36), general well-being (Cantril Ladder of Life) and the performance of caregiving tasks (DOBI). Analyses were performed using ANOVA techniques.
Results Female partners reported a significantly lower wellbeing compared to male HF partners independent of their actual involvement in care (F(1, 291) = 7.22, p< .01). However, in terms of the RAND36 quality of life scores, a significant interaction between gender and the actual involvement in care was found for several quality of life domains. This interaction indicates that the quality of life of female partners is especially affected when they become involved in the personal care of the HF patient. This finding was consistent in social functioning F(1, 299) = 6.47, p < .05), role limitations because of physical problems F(1, 299) = 3.97, p < .05), role limitations because of emotional problems F(1, 298) = 4.10, p < .05), mental health F(1, 297) = 5.07, p < .05), vitality F(1, 297) = 6.68, p < .05), bodily pain F(1, 299) < 5.87, p < .05), and perceived health change F(1, 299) = 3.94, p < .05). In contrast, male partners involved in the personal care of the HF patient tended to report higher quality of life scores compared to male partners not performing these caregiving tasks.
Conclusion Female partners should not be overlooked especially when they become involved in caregiving tasks regarding the personal care of the HF patient. In contrast male partners do not seem to suffer from their caregiving role and even tended to report higher quality of life scores when they are involved in the same caregiving tasks.