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Male Caregivers Report Problems in Caring at Home After Spouses Survive Stroke

Pierce, Linda L., PhD, MSN, RN, CRRN, FAHA, FAAN; Steiner, Victoria, PhD; Alamina, Foluso, MSN, RN, FNP-BC; Onyekelu, Doreen, MSN, RN, CNP; Stevenson, Samantha, MSN, RN, APRN, AGNP-C

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000705

STROKE is sudden and often traumatic with results that affect both the patient and family members who provide care. Approximately 40% of individuals caring for family members/friends are male. Transitioning from the noncaregiver role to caregiver can be unsettling. Guided by Friedemann's framework of systemic organization, this secondary data analysis examined problems reported by men caring for spouses in the first year after stroke. Using a mixed methods design, 73 caregivers (CGs) participated in bimonthly telephone interviews for 1 year. For this analysis, only the males caring for spouses (n = 12 married and n = 1 unmarried partner) were examined. These data were analyzed using Colaizzi's rigorous method of content analysis. Five problem themes emerged: 1) adjusting to multitasking in everyday living (Friedemann's system maintenance and individuation), 2) recognizing physical and mental disabilities (coherence), 3) dealing with outside forces and limited resources (individuation), 4) struggling to return to normal (system maintenance), and 5) feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted (system maintenance). These problem themes demonstrated incongruence as the men sought to maintain their prior lives.Theory-based themes of male stroke CGs' problems were uncovered that can be used to target interventions to help them achieve balance between incongruence and congruence in their lives.

Linda L. Pierce, PhD, MSN, RN, CRRN, FAHA, FAAN, is a Professor, College of Nursing, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Victoria Steiner, PhD, is an Associate Professor, College of Health and Human Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Foluso Alamina, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, is a Nurse Practitioner, Bay Park Promedica Family Practice, Oregon, Ohio.

Doreen Onyekelu, MSN, RN, CNP, is an Alumnus, College of Nursing, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Samantha Stevenson, MSN, RN, APRN, AGNP-C, is a Doctoral Student, College of Nursing, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Former graduate assistants Blake Hardy, MSN, RN, Audrey Jones, MSN, RN, and Rebecca Link, MSN, RN, as well as other alumni from the University of Toledo, are recognized for their help with data analyses and an early draft of this paper. Social worker Scott Pierce, BA, LSW, at Heartland of Oregon in Toledo, Ohio, is acknowledged for his critical review of this manuscript. The male CGs are thanked for their participation.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Address for correspondence: Linda L. Pierce, PhD, MSN, RN, CRRN, FAHA, FAAN, University of Toledo College of Nursing (UT CON), 3000 Arlington Avenue, Mailstop 1026, Toledo, OH 43614 (

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