Caring for a loved one who has experienced a stroke can be a complex and challenging journey. The role of a stroke caregiver is pivotal in the recovery process and requires a deep understanding of the survivor's needs and a commitment to their recovery.
Read some suggestions for caregivers assisting stroke survivors from BAYADA Home Health Care, including risk reduction, recognizing signs of depression, medication management, and when it might be time to consider seeking professional help.
Tips for Caregivers During Post-Stroke Recovery
1. Minimize risk of additional strokes
Reducing the risk of another stroke must be the top priority for any stroke survivor and their support system. Working with the survivor’s medical team to identify and manage risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. By encouraging a heart-healthy diet, appropriate exercise, and medication compliance, caregivers play an important role in maintaining the survivor’s highest level of health and prevention of additional strokes.
2. Prioritize fall prevention
Mobility and balance challenges are common among stroke survivors, making falls a top risk for those affected. For those individuals, prevention is the best medicine. Creating a safe and accessible home environment is essential for recovery. Maintaining a clutter-free environment, making modifications to the home, including handrails and non-slip flooring or mats, will help accommodate any mobility challenges and prevent accidents. If a fall occurs, promptly address any injury and ensure that the survivor’s healthcare providers are aware of any and all falls since their last visit or exam.
3. Collaborate with medical care team
Regular communication with doctors, nurses, therapists, and specialists on the survivor’s health care team is one of the most important aspects of caregiving for stroke survivors. Taking an active role in appointments will ensure that caregivers provide the right care and follow the recommended treatment plan.Be sure to ask questions and stay informed about any changes in medication or therapies and what side effects to watch for.
4. Consider home health care for stroke recovery
Home health care can be incredibly beneficial for stroke survivors. Professional Caregivers and therapists like those at BAYADA Home Health Care provide personalized care in alignment with the established care team in the comfort of the home, aid in mobility, physical therapy, and rehabilitation, and assist with the survivor’s activities of daily living (ADLs) to keep them living independently at home with dignity for as long as possible.
5. Confirm medical / Medicare eligibility
Navigating the cost of receiving healthcare after stroke can be difficult, but understanding the survivor’s coverage and eligibility is essential. Based on available options and how the stroke event affected the survivor may change their eligibility and status for VA, Medicare, Medicaid, or Medical insurance coverage. Here's a helpful resource to help you understand what home care services are covered and how to best utilize them for post-stroke care.
6. Medication management
Having an organized medication schedule is crucial to keeping a stroke survivor medication-compliant. Caregivers can help keep survivors on schedule by ensuring proper dosage, tracking side effects, and discussing side effects and care plan adjustments with the medical care team at regular checkups and when issues arise.
7. Establish a sustainable routine
While in post-stroke recovery, survivors may find difficulty in activities of daily living (ADLs), which were once simple tasks. Creating a structured routine around activities such as meals, exercise, medication, and therapy sessions can help reestablish a sense of normalcy for the survivor, aid the recovery process, and improve emotional well-being.
8. Recovery education
Recovery from a stroke can look different for every survivor – for some, it may be a slow and frustrating process. The recovery duration will depend on the survivor’s overall wellness and the event's severity. A caregiver’s support is crucial to keeping the survivor motivated on this journey. Be patient and celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, and offer encouragement in the weeks, months, or years to come.
9. Monitor stroke survivor’s mental health
Depression is a common challenge facing stroke survivors, particularly those facing a long recovery journey. Allow for open communication to give the survivor space to express their feelings, frustrations, and goals. Caregivers should be vigilant to watch for signs of depression post-stroke, including persistent sadness, loss of interest, changes in appetite, and social withdrawal. Seek professional help if needed, as treating depression for a stroke survivor is integral to the recovery process, and discuss any ongoing concerns with their medical care team.
10. Manage caregiver stress
Self-care for caregivers is non-negotiable. Caregiving can be physically and emotionally demanding, and neglecting your own well-being can hinder your ability to provide effective, supportive care. Remember that you are not alone in caregiving for a loved one recovering from a stroke, and it may help to seek support groups, counseling, and spend time with supportive friends and family. You may also want to consider utilizing a local provider for respite care services.
Home Health Care for Stroke Survivors: Recovering at Home with Dignity
The transition to a “new normal” for stroke survivors as they leave the hospital and begin their recovery journey at home can be overwhelming. Home health care companies like BAYADA can offer much-needed guidance and facilitation in this process. Professional caregivers, including nurses, therapists, and health aids, can provide individualized care aligned with the survivor’s care plan and in collaboration with their existing care team. Here are some benefits of home health care for stroke survivors:
Recovering from a stroke often involves a large care team of specialists – which means multiple appointments and therapy sessions. Home health care brings these services to the client’s home, reducing the stress and coordination needed to plan appointments and transportation.
Reduce risk of re-admittance
Home health care can help ensure that the survivor receives consistent and effective care at home, which may lower the risk of subsequent strokes and re-admittance to the hospital for infections, falls, or other issues related to the survivor’s recovery.
Holistic Approach to Recovery
Being in the comfort of home during recovery can positively impact survivor’s emotional well-being and mental health. With personalized care in a controlled, familiar environment, home health care allows for a holistic care approach that enables survivors to regain a sense of independence and dignity.
Taking care of a stroke survivor can be a challenging but rewarding process. Focusing on reducing risks, maintaining a pre-determined care plan, and ongoing communication with the survivor’s care team are essential to recovery.
While each recovery journey is unique for the survivor and caregiver, you are not alone – there are many resources available to help – and with knowledge and compassion, you can significantly impact your loved one's recovery and overall well-being.
For support at home, resources about home health care, or to discuss potential services available for your loved one, contact BAYADA Home Health Care.