At any given time, there are about 4.8 million stroke survivors with some level of disability needing the aid of family caregivers. Stroke family caregivers are frequently unprepared regarding the demands of the survivor. Here are the most important aspects a caregiver of a stroke patient should consider while caring for them.

  • Be mindful of the medications that have been prescribed and their side effects
  • Clarify any doubts regarding the dose and time of administration of the medications
  • Request a written copy of the drug and stroke information for a better understanding of what happens during and after a stroke
  • Stroke survivors are at a high risk of experiencing recurrence if the therapy is not monitored well
  • Make sure all precautionary measures are in place to prevent recurrence. This includes the following:
    • A healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables as recommended by your healthcare provider
    • Exercise such as walking
    • Taking medications only as prescribed
    • Routine visits to your healthcare provider
  • It is important to know the signs and symptoms of an oncoming stroke as well so that it can be identified and treated well in time
  • Recovery depends on various factors and can happen overtime or quickly, the earliest being three to four months
  • Recovery depends on the following factors:
    • The quality and amount of rehabilitation
    • The health of the person before the stroke
  • Seek out for assistance from a professional physical and/or occupational therapist if you observe the following signs:
    • Imbalance that may result in a fall
    • Increased need for help in every day activities
    • Difficulty moving around
    • Inability to walk for at least 6 minutes without pausing for rest
  • Falls are quiet common after a stroke and need to be taken seriously as they may result in severe bleeding or pain
  • Consult a healthcare provider if the patient has had two minor falls with no injury within the last 6 months
  • Functional Independence Measure Score (FIMS) is a score developed by experts that helps to measure the improvements in activities of daily living, interaction, and mobility skills
  • Make sure the patient is assessed per it every week to note their progress
  • Typically, an improving score of 1 to 2 points per week is considered decent improvement
  • Take note of the speech, motor skills, and self-care since the last therapy visit
  • Any change for the worst needs to be reported to the healthcare provider
  • Assess the signs and symptoms that occur while the person tries to control emotions
  • About 30-50% stroke survivors develop depression post stroke
  • Make sure to have an action plan put together with the help of the healthcare provider if the patient is showing signs of depression
  • Don’t burden yourself thinking that you are the only one that needs to care for the stroke survivor
  • Pursue help from the case manager, social workers, and even your healthcare provider
  • There are various assistance companies available to provide the services you may need for stroke rehabilitation
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself first
  • Take a break from time to time for yourself
  • Maintain a good balance of diet, exercise, and sleep
  • Do not hesitate to ask another family member, neighbor, or friend to help while you rest

In conclusion, stroke survivors and their caregivers often are crunched for time, to deal with the stress and crisis of the stroke event, let alone the discharge of responsibilities. The above pointers will guide you to an easier approach to care for your loved one if you are the primary caregiver.