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Caregiver for Stroke Patients

What is stroke?

A Stroke is an interruption of normal blood flow in one or more blood vessels to the brain.

The main causes of a Stroke are clots (blocking the arteries that supply the brain with blood) or bleeds in or around the brain. When clots are responsible for the Stroke, it is called an ischemic Stroke. When a bleed is the cause, the Stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke.

 
Benefits of a Specialised Caregiver for a Stroke Patient

A Specialised Caregiver will provide the Patient with professional rehabilitation, thus will increase the patient level of functional recovery and decrease the chances of getting another stroke. 

For instance, a study showed that post-stroke exercise intervention produced meaningful changes in walking speed.

Source: Poster 42 defining “clinically meaningful changes of gait speed” in a poststroke therapeutic exercise study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, ISSN 0003-9993, 2004, Volume 85, Issue 8, p. e15

Benefits of a Specialised Caregiver for the Family

A better recovery after the Stroke means that the Patient will be more independent, hence depending less on the family and friends for Activities of Daily Living.  

It also means that the chances of getting another Stroke will be reduced

Hiring a Specialised Caregiver during the recovery process will also significantly decrease the anxiety and worries of family members, who can therefore allocate more time for their career development and in their children’s education, while they have the peace of mind that the very best care is provided to their loved one.

Actions of the Specialised Caregiver for Stroke Patients
Depending on where the stroke happened, a person will experience effects in different areas
  • Paralysis on one side of the body (hemiplegia); this can also cause one-sided neglect, where the person is unable to pay attention to one side of the body;

  • Problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, memory;

  • Problems with understanding or forming speech, reading or listening (aphasia);

  • Emotional problems: difficulty controlling emotions or expressing inappropriate emotions, depression;

  • Numbness, strange sensations or pain;

  • Incontinence.

The Specialised Caregiver of a Stroke Patient therefore focuses on:
  • Restoring as much independence as possible by improving physical, mental & emotional functions;

  • Checking for skin breakdown & development of contractures (because of impaired pain recognition);

  • Frequent Range-Of-Motion exercises, Physotherapy;

  • Importance of maintaining mobility & self-care routine;

  • Knowing who to call in emergencies.

 

Specific Caregiver interventions if the Patient has Aphasia:
  • Aphasia means loss of ability to communicate normally, caused by damage to the left side of the brain.
  • This affects spoken language, understanding, ability to read, write or deal with numbers.
  • The most Important thing for the Specialised Caregiver is to treat the person as an intelligent adult, since the thinking skills are unimpaired.
  • Aphasia can be treated by training and stimulation, which a Specialised Caregiver will provide

 

Dealing with emotional problems and changes in behaviour:

The Specialised Caregiver is fully aware of the problems that can occur:

  • Depression;
  • Anger;
  • Emotional instability: a person who suffered from stroke can give spontaneous and uncontrolled emotional reactions such as crying or laughing without any reason; these reactions are greatest in the first few months after the stroke;
  • Apathy;

The Specialised Caregiver knows that these reactions can occur and will stay calm & patient under any circumstances.

 

Specific Caregiver interventions to prevent and anticipate the next stroke:
Anticipating = Preventing
  • 25% of people who had a stroke had a new stroke within 5 years.
  • Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented!

The risk factors for developing a stroke can be divided into 3 categories

1. Controlable life style risk factors
  • Promoting a healthy diet with fruits & vegetables;

  • Helping the Stroke Patient to keep his weight under control;

  • Encouraging the Patient to exercise enough;

  • Encouraging the Patient to stop smoking;

  • Limiting alcohol use;

  • Avoiding drugs.

2. Controlable medical risk factors
  • Encouraging the Patient to check his cholesterol;

  • Managing diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.

3. Un-controlable risk factors
  • Age: people older than 55 have a higher risk;

  • Gender: men are more at risk, but women have a higher mortality rate than men;

  • Family history: people with a family history of stroke have a higher risk.
     

At all times the Specialised Caregiver will follow the care plan to enable a faster and better recovery of the Stroke Patient, and will manage the risk factors so as to reduce the risk of another Stroke.
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