Buck receives grant to study symptom management for heart failure patients

By Beverly Molnar
April 30, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Harleah Buck, assistant professor of nursing, has received a $149,500 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to study symptom management in patients with moderate to severe heart failure.

Titled "Dyadic Symptom Management in Moderate to Severe Heart Failure," Buck's project will focus on the experiences of patient-caregiver dyads, or pairs.

"There is a pressing need to address the growing number of heart failure patients and understand factors that may impact symptom management for these patients and their unpaid, informal caregivers, such as family and friends," Buck said.

The purpose of the research is to describe how patient-caregiver pairs approach symptom management and understand it within the context of the relationship. Buck also plans to examine the relationship between specific ways that patient-caregiver pairs manage symptoms and the resulting patient outcomes.

"Inadequate symptom management causes both suffering and increased health system utilization for the approximately 6 million Americans diagnosed with heart failure," Buck said. "Though an estimated 45 to 70 percent of these patients have informal caregivers who engage in symptom management to varying degrees, the role of these informal caregivers has not been examined critically. Little is known about how patients and their caregivers mutually engage in symptom management or what impact this has on patient outcomes.

"This study seeks to a fill a gap in our knowledge about the role that the pair, not just the individual patient or caregiver, plays in managing symptoms," she continued.

The two-year study, which begins May 1, addresses the NINR's priority of developing strategies to assist patients and their caregivers in managing chronic illness.

Last Updated May 14, 2014