Research in Nursing and Health
The purpose of this investigation was to render a more complete understanding of subjective perceptions of pressure ulcers from the perspective of family dyads, and to study the effect of these subjective experiences on preventive behaviors and pressure ulcer outcomes. A naturalistic inquiry, combined with objective measures, was used. Twenty-one dyads participated in four in-depth interviews to explore how they mentally represented and responded to the risk of pressure ulcers. Through the process of concept development, a lay representation of pressure ulcers was developed. This process produced a new concept, identified as “shared care,” that explained how the dyads interaction influenced preventive behavior. Shared care consists of three elements: communication of symptoms, decisions about how to respond to symptoms, and appraisals of reciprocity. Two contrasting patterns of care were identified: shared and directed/discrepant. In the shared care group, 10 patients were at risk for pressure ulcers but only 4 developed ulcers. In this discrepant care group, 3 patients were at risk and 2 developed pressure ulcers. Shared care was a pattern of interaction used successfully by family members to prevent pressure ulcers in patients at risk.