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Examining Associations of Functional Deficits and Mood States With Empathic Responses of Stroke Family Caregivers

Jin, Chen; Lobchuk, Michelle; Chernomas, Wanda; Pooyania, Sepideh

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 12–14
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000250
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ABSTRACT Background: Stroke is one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses worldwide. Family caregivers can make a significant contribution toward patients’ recovery. However, the patient’s functional deficits and the caregiver’s mood states can impact the caregiver’s motivation to engage in empathic responses toward patients. Clinicians need help in recognizing patients at risk for not receiving empathic responses from family caregivers who are pivotal in long-term help and emotional support. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine possible associations of family caregiver perceptions of functional deficits of patients who are poststroke and caregiver mood states with their empathic responses toward patients who are poststroke. Methodology: As guided by Davis’ organizational model on empathy, we conducted a correlational descriptive study of associations among patient functional deficits, caregiver mood states, and caregiver empathic responses toward patients who are poststroke. Participants were requested to complete four questionnaires. Results: Caregiver fatigue was the only mood state significantly associated with their empathic responses toward patients who are poststroke. Conclusions: The results of the current study contribute to the current state of the literature on poststroke care at home by highlighting the impact of caregiver mood states, particularly caregiver fatigue, on their empathic responses toward patients who are poststroke. Recommendations for clinical practice and future studies were made based on this study’s results.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Chen Jin, RN MN, at cj0738@mun.ca, Graduate Student in Nursing, who conducted this study in partial fulfilment of degree requirements. College of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Michelle Lobchuk, PhD RN, is Associate Professor, Manitoba Research Chair in Caregiver Communication, College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Wanda Chernomas, PhD RN, is Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Sepideh Pooyania, MD FRCPC CSCN, is Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses