Caregiver Support in Caring for Stroke Patients: A Case Study
Stroke caregivers need health care professionals support throughout the trajectory of cares, caregivers support needs change throughout the patient’s trajectory. Recognition of this fact, by health care professionals, to provide appropriate support, will result in favorable outcomes for both the caregivers and patients. This case study research aimed to examine the processes of stroke caregivers’ support and the outcomes according to the Timing It Right (TIR) conceptual framework (Cameron & Gignac, 2008) which describes caregiver needs for informational, emotional, training and appraisal support at different points in time; from when the stroke occurred to the transition to community living. These support needs are divided into five phases: 1) event/diagnosis, 2) stabilization, 3) preparation, 4) implementation, and 5) adaptation. The participants were 3 caregivers who caring stroke patients at acute stroke unit and/or general wards in a university hospital for 10 months. The instruments of this study included 1) the stroke caregivers’ supportive processes and outcomes record form, 2) the stroke caregivers’ supportive activities plan, and 3) the stroke caregivers’ handbook. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistic and content analysis.
The results demonstrated that the support for caregivers’ needs, based on the TIR framework, contributed positive outcomes on caregivers and stroke patients as follows:
- Outcomes on caregivers from informational support revealed that caregivers have gained knowledge about strokes, diagnostic tests, treatment plans, and options. They have also recognized the patient’s disability following the stroke, as well as the patient’s need for long-term care, in the forms of: daily activity, rehabilitation, potential complication prevention, and appropriate environment preparation including resources available in the community. Outcomes on caregivers from emotional support revealed that caregivers have decreased their anxiety and stress levels. Outcomes on caregivers from training support revealed that caregivers have gained confidence in assisting with daily activities, rehabilitation, potential complication prevention, and suitable environment preparation for stroke patients, including being able to access community resources and outcomes on caregivers from appraisal support revealed that after receiving appraisal and feedback about Activity Daily Living (ADL), and how caregivers are managing in the home, they have successfully cared for their patients.
- Outcomes on stroke patients revealed that they haven’t had pneumonia, pressure ulcers, or urinary tract infections and they participated in social activities and events after returning home in 2- 3 months.
The results of this study will be beneficial in developing discharge planning for stoke patients. Especially concerning caregivers’ needs for informational, emotional, training and appraisal support in each of the care phases. Further study is need to investigate caregiver support in caring for stroke patients with increase number of participants, including the long term outcomes of caregivers and stroke patients such as length of stay, recovery time and cost.
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