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Shared Care, elder and family member skills used to manage burden


Margaret Sebern,
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee,
College of Nursing,
Cunningham Hall,
Rm. 421,
PO Box 413,
WI 53201,


Aim.  The aim of this paper is to further develop the construct of Shared Care by comparing and contrasting it to related research, and to show how the construct can be used to guide research and practice.

Background.  While researchers have identified negative outcomes for family caregivers caused by providing care, less is known about positive aspects of family care for both members of a family dyad. Understanding family care relationships is important to nurses because family participation in the care of chronically ill elders is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes from nursing interventions. A previous naturalistic inquiry identified a new construct, Shared Care, which was used to describe a family care interaction that contributed to positive care outcomes.

Methods.  A literature review was carried out using the databases Medline, CINAHL, and Psych-info and the keywords home care, care receiver, disability, family, communication, decision-making and reciprocity. The results of the review were integrated to suggest how Shared Care could be used to study care difficulties and guide interventions.

Results.  The literature confirmed the importance of dyad relationships in family care. Shared Care extended previous conceptualizations of family care by capturing three critical components: communication, decision-making, and reciprocity. Shared Care provides a structure to expand the conceptualization of family care to include both members of a care dyad and account for positive and negative aspects of care.

Conclusions.  The extended view provided by the construct of Shared Care offers practitioners and scholars tools to use in the context of our ageing population to improve the effectiveness of family care relationships.