A Process of Decision Making by Caregivers of Family Members with Heart Failure

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An Analysis of Standford et al.’s Study

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An Analysis of Sanford, Townsend-Rocchicciolli, Horigan, & Hall’s Study A Process of Decision Making by Caregivers of Family Members With Heart Failure A research critique submitted by Thelma Augustin, Melody Alexander, Ashley Breaux, Nissa Fisher, Kamaria Harris, Thao Huynh, Jeris Jensen, Leslie King, and Susan Livengood, Master of Science in Nursing Research College of Nursing 2012

An Analysis of Standford et al.’s Study

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Design Sanford, Townsend-Rocchicciolli, Horigan, & Hall (2011) identified this qualitative study’s research tradition as following the grounded theory method to investigate the caregiver’s of heart failure (HF) patient’s decision making process. This was achieved by identifying the complex cardiovascular issue, HF, as a real world problem. After identifying the primary issue, they studied the basic social process of the caregiver’s decision making skills, otherwise known as the core variable (Polit & Beck, 2012). The data was collected and analyzed consistently with the grounded theory by using unstructured, open-ended, audio-taped interviews, with notes highlighting key points or questions (Sanford et al., 2011). Sanford et al.’s (2011) data was immediately transcribed word-for-word into the NVivo qualitative software program after each interview allowing researchers to code the data into categories for constant comparison. While analyzing the data, researchers were able to elaborate, refine, and create a decision making theoretical model, the theory of triangulation. This is important, because as Polit & Beck (2012) note, the ground theory is where data is taken, immediately analyzed as it is obtained, conceptualized to make changes as the researcher sees fit, and the cycle is repeated as needed. Throughout this study, Sanford et al., (2011) recruited participants over a 12 month period, and it can be assumed that this was sufficient time to build trust and a rapport, since it was not otherwise stated and Sanford et al. followed grounded theory framework. Sanford et al., (2011) conducted in-depth interviews lasting 45 minutes to two hours, listed the eleven questions asked, and labeled them questions/probes, allowing for ample data collection and

An Analysis of Standford et al.’s Study

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demographic data collection. However, by including the language probes, it suggests they got more information than just the questions listed, but did not go into any detail concerning this. This is consistent with grounded theory methods of collecting data, as Polit & Beck (2012) do not suggest a given amount of time, they only highlight that the interviews should be in-depth. Sanford et al. (2011) first pointed out the importance of conducting this study due to the increasing incident of HF and the detriment it can cause to caregiver’s trying to make quality decisions regarding care. Additionally, from previous studies that caregiver’s making decision for people with HF have a hard time unless the patient’s wishes were previously discussed, and the hardship worsens as the patient becomes more ill. Furthermore, it was identified that there seems to be a process that emerges when making these life-altering decisions. In regards to reflexivity, it is not mentioned if any of the researchers conducting this study had previous biases, are affected by HF, or were a caregiver to a family member with HF, but it is apparent that they did their research prior to conducting this study in efforts to identify true human experiences already noted in other studies. By doing their homework, it allows for them to not presume or press judgment on the study, because they know how to direct research and the appropriate questions to ask the participants. However, it would have been beneficial for the researchers to pointedly note any biases, values, or personal ties to this study. This study was strictly qualitative. Although there was a chart filled...
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