Family Support After Stroke
Strokes can be devastating events that have long term effects on the entire family. The recovery process can be difficult to navigate. If you are wondering where to begin check out these tips on how to best support your loved one after a stroke.
Navigating the complex world of healthcare services can be incredibly complex. Information often gets lost in translation or forgotten over time. Creating a caregiver notebook or folder can be a helpful way to consolidate information and keep track of what’s happening around you and your loved one.
This notebook may include:
- Contact information: A running list of all those involved, including family members, doctors, therapists, specialists etc.
- A Schedule: keep a list of your loved one’s preferences and daily needs that can be used by others if you are away. This may include when they like to have a shower, foods they cannot eat, or a list of enjoyable hobbies.
- A therapy log: Keep track of all medical procedures and daily occurrences in therapy. This will help you and future clinicians to understand what has been done in the past and inform their choices for the future.
As soon as you have a few free moments, start to research. The more you know the better you will be at making informed decisions and acting as an advocate for your loved one. There is a plethora of stroke related information available on the internet and via your healthcare providers.
Start by learning the basic information surrounds stroke etiology, prognosis and recovery process. Sites like the national stroke association and strokesmart.org can help you gain a better understanding of where to go from here.
Once you have a better grasp on the basics. You may want to familiarize yourself with what products and services are available that may enhance the quality of your loved one’s recovery process. Technology is constantly evolving, and Products like Neofect’s smart rehabilitation tools can supplement traditional therapeutic techniques both while in the hospital or at home. Check out neofect.com to find out more.
Modify the Environment
Remember to check in with your care team to find out how you can help ensure that your loved one returns to a safe and stable living environment. The home may need to be adapted by adding grab bars or ramps to prevent further decline or injury. Double check that all equipment needed such as walkers or bed side commodes will be available on or before the day of discharge. Your loved one may need more than physical assistance once at home, you may need to appoint someone to buy groceries, open mail, pay bills, pick up medication or attend to financial planning.
Provide emotional support
The risk for significant mood changes and depression increases dramatically after a stroke. Don’t underestimate how important your emotional support and presence can be to your loved one. They may feel isolated or afraid. At times they also may not have full control of their emotions, which could lead to unexpected laughter or tears. Remember to be patient with them and with yourself. Support groups both online and in person can be a life saver for many patients and caregivers. Taking care of yourself is vital to both you and your loved one. Remember to value yourself and the work you are doing for your loved one.
- Siena Conde, OTR/LSiena is an occupational therapist and rehabilitation technology and clinical application specialist based out of San Francisco, CA. Siena works for Rally Health as a Clinical Content Manager.