Kirsten Lomborg

Undefined and unpredictable responsibility: a focus group study of the experiences of informal caregiver spouses of patients with severe COPD

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Dorthe Gaby Bove
  • ,
  • Ann-Britt Zakrisson
  • ,
  • Julie Midtgaard
  • ,
  • Kirsten Lomborg
  • Dorthe Overgaard

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore how spouses of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease experience their role as informal caregiver.

BACKGROUND: Informal caregiver spouses are of pivotal importance in the way that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cope with their daily life, including their opportunity to stay at home and avoid hospitalisations in the last stages of the disease. However, caregiving is associated with increased morbidity and mortality among caregivers. Further understanding of the role as an informal caregiver spouse of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is needed to develop supportive interventions aimed at reducing the caregiver burden.

DESIGN: The study had a qualitative exploratory design. The data collection and analysis were based on framework method. Framework method is a thematic methodology and consists of five key stages: familiarisation, identifying a thematic framework, indexing, charting and mapping & interpretation.

METHODS: Three focus groups were conducted in November 2013 with 22 spouses of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

RESULTS: Undefined and unpredictable responsibility was found to be the overarching theme describing the informal caregiver role. Underlying themes were: being constantly in a state of alertness, social life modified, maintaining normality, ambivalence in the relationship and a willingness to be involved.

CONCLUSIONS: The informal caregiver spouses experienced ambiguity about expectations from their private and the health professionals' surroundings. The informal caregiver spouses wanted to provide meaningful care for their partners, but sought knowledge and support from the health professionals.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: We recommend that nurses take on the responsibility for including the informal caregiver spouses in those aspects of decision-making that involve the common life of the patients and their spouses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Pages (from-to)483-93
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 100863161