A concept analysis of family caregivers’ uncertainty of patient's illness


Aim: To analyze and examine the concept of uncertainty of the patient's illness among family caregivers. Background: Promoting family caregivers’ health is significant in nursing. Family caregivers may experience uncertainty related to their loved ones’ illness. A lack of clarity exists regarding the uncertainty concept among family caregivers and its implications in nursing. Data Source: A review of the literature that focused on family caregivers of adult patients using PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus databases was completed. Methods: The Walker and Avant framework was applied to identify the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of family caregivers’ uncertainty. Results: Eight articles were analyzed. Attributes of family caregivers’ uncertainty included the patient's illness probability and family caregivers’ perception of the illness. Antecedents included the characteristics of the patient's illness, factors associated with the family caregivers’ perception of the illness, and family responsibilities of caregiving. The consequences included family caregivers’ emotional, psychological, and financial outcomes. Family caregivers’ uncertainty is defined as the perception of the inability to process information regarding the patient's illness trajectory when caring for significant others’ illness. Conclusions: Individuals can perceive uncertainty differently as a patient-facing uncertainty in illness versus a family caregiver facing uncertainty of their loved ones’ illness.

Publication Title

Nursing Forum