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Perceptions of Information and Communication Technology as Support for Family Members of Persons With Heart Failure: Qualitative Study
Linkoping Univ, Dept Med & Hlth Sci, Linkoping, Sweden.
Linkoping Univ, Dept Med & Hlth Sci, Linkoping, Sweden;Linkoping Univ, Dept Cardiol, Linkoping, Sweden.
Linkoping Univ, Dept Med & Hlth Sci, Linkoping, Sweden;Linkoping Univ, Dept Cardiothorac Surg, Linkoping, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centrum för klinisk forskning i Sörmland (CKFD). Linkoping Univ, Dept Med & Hlth Sci, Linkoping, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7957-8600
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Medical Internet Research, ISSN 1438-8871, E-ISSN 1438-8871, Vol. 21, no 7, article id e13521Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Heart failure (HF) affects not only the person diagnosed with the syndrome but also family members, who often have the role of informal carers. The needs of these carers are not always met, and information and communications technology (ICT) could have the potential to support them in their everyday life. However, knowledge is lacking about how family members perceive ICT and see opportunities for this technology to support them.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of ICT solutions as supportive aids among family members of persons with HF.

Methods: A qualitative design was applied. A total of 8 focus groups, comprising 23 family members of persons affected by HF, were conducted between March 2015 and January 2017. Participants were recruited from 1 hospital in Sweden. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to find family members of persons with symptomatic HF from diverse backgrounds. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: The analysis revealed 4 categories and 9 subcategories. The first category, about how ICT could provide relevant support, included descriptions of how ICT could be used for communication with health care personnel, for information and communication retrieval, plus opportunities to interact with persons in similar life situations and to share support with peers and extended family. The second category, about how ICT could provide access, entailed how ICT could offer solutions not bound by time or place and how it could be both timely and adaptable to different life situations. ICT could also provide an arena for family members to which they might not otherwise have had access. The third category concerned how ICT could be too impersonal and how it could entail limited personal interaction and individualization, which could lead to concerns about usability. It was emphasized that ICT could not replace physical meetings. The fourth category considered how ICT could be out of scope, reflecting the fact that some family members were generally uninterested in ICT and had difficulties envisioning how it could be used for support. It was also discussed as more of a solution for the future.

Conclusions: Family members described multiple uses for ICT and agreed that ICT could provide access to relevant sources of information from which family members could potentially exchange support. ICT was also considered to have its limitations and was out of scope for some but with expected use in the future. Even though some family members seemed hesitant about ICT solutions in general, this might not mean they are unreceptive to suggestions about their usage in, for example, health care. Thus, a variety of factors should be considered to facilitate future implementations of ICT tools in clinical practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC , 2019. Vol. 21, no 7, article id e13521
Keywords [en]
family, caregivers, telemedicine, perception, heart failure, social support, focus groups, qualitative research
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391943DOI: 10.2196/13521ISI: 000476841200001PubMedID: 31313662OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391943DiVA, id: diva2:1346843
Funder
Swedish Research Council, K2015-99X -22124-04-4Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2014-4100Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden (FORSS), FORSS-665001Available from: 2019-08-29 Created: 2019-08-29 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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