The incidence of heart failure continues to rise as innovative treatments are developed. Despite life-prolonging interventions, morbidity and mortality in patients younger than 65 remain high. Few studies have focused on this younger cohort and/or their family caregivers as they navigate the complex illness trajectories manifested in heart failure. Instrumental case studies were employed to present exemplars for each of the five identified heart failure trajectories. Culling data from a longitudinal study of female spousal caregivers, each case study represents a wife's discussion of caring for a husband (<65 years) in response to the husband's changing heart failure trajectory. The goal of medical stability and the notion of uncertainty permeate throughout the case studies. Suggestions for supporting these wives are presented.
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