The following is a summary of “Barriers to and Facilitators of Family Caregiving of Patients With COVID-19 Early in the Pandemic,” published in the November 2023 issue of Critical Care by Leggett et al.
In 2020, many family members became caregivers for COVID-19 patients with little preparation or knowledge of the disease.
Researchers started a retrospective study to identify the challenges and supports experienced by family caregivers of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in the early months of the pandemic.
They conducted web conference-based, in-depth qualitative interviews with 16 recovering adults after intubation for COVID-19 at a prominent academic medical center’s ICU and their primary caregivers (March and August 2020) (N = 32). The analysis used Watkins’ efficient data reduction method with MAXQDA software to detect thematic patterns.
The results showed 7 themes related to factors impacting care: other health conditions complicating care, interactions within the healthcare system, COVID-19’s impact on various life aspects, psychological well-being of patient-caregiver pairs, support experiences within the pair’s network, the caregiving role, and contextual circumstances. These themes often encompassed barriers and facilitators, contingent on the dyad’s expertise (e.g., feeling supported vs. fatigued by their support network).
Investigators concluded that understanding COVID-19 illness management for patients and caregivers can improve overall health and well-being.