Post-stroke care: A guide for the caretakers

Life post-stroke isn’t going to be a cake-walk. It can be tiring and depressing for the survivors and caretakers alike. Strokes can result in disabilities – some which may last for a while and some forever. Caretakers of stroke survivors should be prepared, mentally and physically,  to go that extra mile for their loved ones. Let this guide help you with the responsibilities of a caretaker for a stroke survivor.

#1 Study about the stroke and its medications

Caregivers should have a clear cut idea of what they are dealing with. You should have good knowledge of the patient’s medical history and allergies. Make sure you keep a record of medications prescribed and its side effects on the patient (if any). Seek immediate medical help in case the patient’s body or skin exhibits any kind of changes.

#2 Make sure your home is ready to welcome your dear one.

Mild changes in the arrangements of the house may be required to make it more easy and accessible.  Discuss and clear all doubts with a doctor or a nurse before bringing your loved one back home. Prepare your family to be considerate with the patient’s needs.

#3 Understand that the chances for the next stroke are high

Understand the risks so that you can reduce the risk. Once stroke-stricken, the patient might have high chances of having another stroke. Feed your loved one healthy food, give medicines on time, make them exercise regularly (if any recommended) and, more importantly, make sure they do not miss a single doctor’s appointment.

#4 Study your patient and his/her stroke for fast recovery

Each stroke is different and affects each person differently. You should keep a check on your loved one to see how they are coping; which part of their brain is affected, in what way and how well is rehabilitation working for them, and more. This might help in providing better care and thus in attaining fast recovery for the patient.

#5 Recovery may or may not be fast

You must teach yourself this first. Never lose hope and never let your loved one lose hope. The path to full recovery is not smooth and it can take up more time than expected. The first 2-3 months might show better results. However, medications work differently on each patient.

#6 Don’t hesitate to seek assistance

Not everything can be handled on your own. Seek the assistance that you may require, not just medical but from support groups as well. Talk to social workers or people who have experience in caring for stroke survivors for tips.

#7 Keep a record

Signs of progress must be recorded. You must keep a log of the recovery processes; which therapies are working best for the patient, their improvements in communication and physical activities, etc.

#8 Emotional support

You must understand how stressful the situation is for the patient. Make sure he/she knows that you are there for them. Post-stroke depression is a real thing and never let your loved one fall into it. This can have a massive impact on the recovery and rehabilitation process.

#9 You are important too

Caretaking is a big responsibility and is exhausting for the body and soul. Take a break, if you feel like you need one. As your work requires a lot of physical strength, eat healthily and exercise regularly. Stay positive and send out positive vibes. Try to be patient and understanding  - don’t stress yourself out.

Caretaking might not be an easy job, but it isn’t any easier for the stroke survivor either. Keep these points in mind to help make caretaking more effective. After all, anything can be accomplished when you have someone you trust by your side. No journey can be long and unfruitful without good care and support. Take your loved one home, guide them through recovery and help them rebuild their world.

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