Cardiovascular Risk Profiles of Family Caregivers of Persons with Heart Failure

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 8:30 AM

Sandra B. Dunbar, RN, DSN, FAAN1
Rebecca A. Gary, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA2
Kenneth W. Hepburn, PhD3
Elizabeth Corwin, RN, PhD, FNP1
Melinda Higgins, PhD1
Susan Bauer-Wu, RN, PhD, FAAN1
(1)Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
(2)Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Altanta, GA
(3)Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory Univeristy, Atlanta, GA

Learning Objective 1: 1. Identify the prevalence of non-modifiable and modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease for family caregivers of persons with heart failure.

Learning Objective 2: 2. Identify the potential targets for intervention to reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease for family caregivers of persons with heart failure.

Purpose: Family caregivers (FCGs) of persons with chronic conditions report varying levels of stress and have worse health outcomes compared with non-FCGs of the same age. A better understanding of the health status of FCGs would facilitate development and testing of health promoting interventions. The purpose of this study was to specifically describe the cardiovascular health risks of FCG of persons with chronic health failure (HF).

 Methods: Participants (N=90) were FCGs of persons with chronic HF enrolled in a 6 month study testing a FCG intervention to reduce overall stress and improve cardiovascular risk factors. Data reported are from the baseline assessment.  Inclusion criteria required sedentary and non-smoking status.  Measures included sociodemographic data, fasting serum lipids and glucose, systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure, anthropometrics of body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, hsCRP,  and self-reported perceived burden (Oberst Caregiver Burden Scale; OCBS). Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and compared with normal values for age and gender.

 Results: Participants were age range 25-79 years (mean 55±11), 92% women, 55.6% spouses, and 55% minority. Mean BMI was 30±6.7, 80% were overweight or obese, and 78% had elevated waist circumference reflecting central adiposity. The cardiovascular risk factors and percent with elevated risk were:  SBP >130 mmHG (41%); total >200 (35.2%) and HDL <40 (16%) Cholesterol; hsCRP >1 (77%); and serum glucose >90 mg/dL (63%). OCBS scores reflected high time (45.3±12) and difficulty (32±14) burden.  

 Conclusion: Elevated cardiovascular risk factors and high perceived burden were observed in the majority of FCGs of persons with HF. These risk factors are modifiable and represent potential targets of intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve health outcomes of FCGs.  Greater attention to the health risks and perceived burden by clinicians is warranted as is further research to test interventions to reduce risk and burden.