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The meaning of care dependency as shared by care givers and care recipients: a concept analysis

Authors

  • Thomas Boggatz,

    1. Thomas Boggatz MA RN Nurse Educator Department of the Education for Nurse and Paramedical Teachers and Nursing Science, Centre for Humanities and Health Sciences, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Kulliyet el-Banat Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
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  • Ate Dijkstra,

    1. Ate Dijkstra MEd PhD RN Senior Researcher Northern Center for Healthcare Research, University of Groningen, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
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  • Christa Lohrmann,

    1. Christa Lohrmann MA PhD RN Head of Department Department of Nursing Science, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
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  • Theo Dassen

    1. Theo Dassen PhD RN FEANS Head of Department Department of the Education for Nurse and Paramedical Teachers and Nursing Science, Centre for Humanities and Health Sciences, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
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T. Boggatz: e-mail: thomasboggatz@compuserve.de

Abstract

Title. The meaning of care dependency as shared by care givers and care recipients: a concept analysis

Aim.  This paper is a report of a concept analysis to identify a meaning of care dependency that can be shared by both care givers and care recipients.

Background.  Care dependency can be perceived from the care recipient’s and the care giver’s perspective. To allow for comparisons, both sides should share the same understanding of the concept. The current research about care dependency has focused on external assessment by nurses and suffers from a tendency to use the concept with different meanings. As a consequence, research on dependency may capture different phenomena.

Method.  Walker and Avant’s method for concept analysis served as the guideline for this study. The Medline, CINAHL and Cochrane databases were searched for the period 1996–2006 using the terms dependence, dependency, care dependence and care dependency.

Results.  Care dependency can be defined as a subjective, secondary need for support in the domain of care to compensate a self-care deficit. Functional limitations are a necessary antecedent and unmet needs are a possible consequence of care dependency. The conceptual difference between care dependency, functional limitations and unmet needs may be meaningless for study participants. They may better understand these differences if they are asked about all three phenomena in the same investigation.

Conclusion.  Care givers and care recipients can agree on the suggested attributes of care dependency but may judge them in different ways. Self-assessed care dependency has the potential to challenge preconceptions of care givers about care dependency.

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