Poster Presentation

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
2:45 PM - 3:30 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation I
Experiences of spousal caregivers during hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Judith Heermann, PhD, RN1, June Eilers, PhD, RN2, Margaret E. Wilson, PhD, CPNP1, and Rita Million1. (1) College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA, (2) Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe seven themes in the experience of spousal caregivers.
Learning Objective #2: describe the importance of rituals in the day to day experience of spousal caregivers.

Purpose/Objectives:  The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of the spouses of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients from admission to the transplant unit to discharge home.
Design:  A qualitative design was used to explore the experiences of spouses of HSCT recipients.
Sample:  Participants were spouses (N=11; 8 female; 3 male) of individuals undergoing HSCT at a leading transplant center in the Midwestern United States.
Method:  Participants were interviewed 1 to 6 times beginning just after admission.  The interviews (N = 28) were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The interviews were part of a larger study of caregivers of persons undergoing HSCT.  For this analysis only those caregivers who were spouses of the recipients were included.
Analysis:  Spradley’s domain analysis was used to identify themes from the interviews.  After initial line by line coding, codes were compared and conceptual categories identified. These categories eventually became the themes that constitute the findings. All analysis was conducted in team meetings with four researchers.
Results:  Major themes were 1) Feeling dislocated from normal life; 2) Riding a rollercoaster in the dark: Living the uncertainty; 3) Rituals: Structuring the uncertainty; 4) Forming a positive perspective; 5) Envisioning the future; 6) Caregiving; and 7) Balancing “me and my world” with “us and our world”.
Implications:  Awareness of the spousal caregiving experience can positively influence health care professionals’ interaction with and support of the spouse-caregiver/recipient dyad.  Knowing the importance of rituals in managing the uncertainty of the transplant experience can be used to structure both educational preparation of the dyad and day to day activities during the transplantation experience.  Recognizing the wide variation in spousal caregivers’ response during this period can reinforce the necessity to individualize care.