How to Care for Stroke Patients
May 10 2022
9 Tips for Family Caregivers of Stroke Survivors
When it comes to caring for stroke patients at home, you may have a lot of questions about your loved one’s recovery and what their needs will be in the days and years ahead. You may also worry about how you’ll manage your new role as a caregiver.
Caregiving is a big load to shoulder. Many still must fulfill their other roles while taking on the role of caregiver and it can be overwhelming. As a family caregiver, it is important to know that you don’t have to do this alone. Remember that when you take care of yourself, you are able to better care for your loved one!
These tips will help you care for your loved one, including balancing the needs of the stroke survivor with your own health and happiness.
1 Take advantage of every opportunity to learn about your loved one’s condition and prognosis. Take part in support groups or programs. Learn from their recovery team about stroke recovery and the rehabilitation process. The more you learn, the better you will be able to care for your loved one.
Make Home Modifications
2 Stroke patients are at a high risk of falling due to common balance problems or one-sided visual neglect. This means that making modifications to your loved one’s home is paramount. Work with their occupational therapist to learn what needs to be done. Some modifications that may be recommended include installing grab bars, decreasing clutter, and tacking down or removing rugs.
Join Support Groups
3 There are support groups for both stroke survivors and their family caregivers in person and online. Take advantage of these groups by joining them. Here you will find support, understanding, and encouragement.
Provide Emotional Support
4 Your loved one will go through many emotional changes after a stroke. Sudden outbursts of crying or laughter could be the sign of pseudobulbar affect, which can be treated with medication or resolve on its own. Stroke patients may also deal with anxiety, depression, or grief. Make sure that you are understanding of these challenging times for your loved one, providing an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. Make sure that your loved one also leans on their counselor or therapist as well.
Encourage Daily Rehabilitation Exercises
5 Support your loved one by attending a few therapy sessions, which can also be used as an opportunity to learn on your part. Encourage your loved one to practice new skills, but don’t always jump in to help. Be supportive and allow your loved one to do things for themselves. Even small accomplishments will help your loved one become more confident and self-reliant.
Medications and Supplements
6 Your loved one may go on a variety of medications, such as blood thinners or cholesterol medications. All medications have side effects that should be monitored carefully. Keep a journal or record of any changes or symptoms and report anything concerning to your loved one’s medical team right away.
Also, be sure that your loved one only takes supplements that are approved by their doctor. Some supplements, such as ginkgo biloba, can actually increase the risk of a second stroke.
Look Out for New Symptoms
7 After being discharged from a hospital or clinic, stroke side effects should get better with rehabilitation. However, sometimes new stroke side effects show up months after discharge. If you notice anything different or unusual, be sure to consult with your loved one’s medical team right away.
The 3 Month Plateau
8 After about the first three months of recovery, most stroke survivors experience a “plateau” in their recovery. Just know that this slowdown is not a sign that recovery is stopping. The brain is very resilient and can heal decades after a stroke, so don’t let yourself or your loved one be discouraged by a plateau in rehabilitation. Your loved one’s medical team should know that this is a sign to revamp efforts.
Work with a Home Healthcare Team
9 Working with a home healthcare team can really help you meet your loved one’s needs without becoming overwhelmed. They can provide healthcare and therapy in the comfort of your loved one’s home, assist with personal hygiene such as bathing, and assist with meals, among other tasks. Working with home health can also provide the family caregiver respite care, allowing them to take some personal time to spend with family or friends, go to their own medical appointments, or to run errands.
Work with a Team that Truly Cares
At All American, we believe in compassionate care that approaches patient care in the same way we would care for our own family! Our certified and experienced caregivers help patients enjoy a higher quality of life right in the comfort of their own home. To learn more about our services, visit our website.