Challenges and Lessons Learned Tailoring a Behavioral Intervention for Stroke Survivor-Care Partner Dyads

Meghan K Tierney, Mary Fran Tracy, Susan A Everson-Rose, Niloufar Niakosari Hadidi
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses 2020 July 9

INTRODUCTION: Research is increasingly exploring interventions for patient-care-partner dyads, but little has been reported regarding challenges of implementing dyad-focused interventions. This article reports the lessons learned in a pilot feasibility study of problem-solving therapy versus stroke education in stroke survivor-care partner dyads.

CHALLENGES AND LESSONS LEARNED: Challenges arose in numerous aspects of intervention delivery. These ranged from personalizing the intervention to meet individual needs and balancing participation between dyad members to maintaining focus, managing conflict, and addressing ethical concerns, all of which required attention from the nurse researcher. These anticipated and unanticipated challenges were addressed using a variety of solutions, including engagement, active listening, redirection, and structured adaptation.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The knowledge gained and lessons learned in this study may be applied to other patient-care-partner dyads and other behavioral therapies. Nurses may also identify opportunities to increase inclusion of care partners in other interventions. Awareness of these challenges may lead to greater success in working with dyads.

CONCLUSIONS: Dyad-focused behavioral interventions hold promise for use with stroke survivors and their care partners. They also present unique implementation challenges compared with survivor-only interventions.

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