How to Care For a Stroke Patient at Home
When a loved one has a stroke, it can be difficult to adapt to their new care needs, which can put pressure on family and friends as well as lead to confusion and negative emotions for the stroke victim. It can be easier to cope with if you know what to expect and how to best deal with the effects of a stroke. However, there is no shame in asking for help; if things become too difficult there are flexible care options available at Care24Seven. Even if you just need some advice, we are just a call away.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. There are two main causes for the blood flow to be stopped; the first is ischaemic which is the most common (around 85% of stroke cases) and this is caused by a blood clot. The second, rarer cause is hemorrhagic which is when a blood vessel transporting blood to the brain bursts.
Risk factors associated with strokes are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, and diabetes.
Symptoms of a stroke can best be remembered with the acronym FAST, which stands for the following:
- Face – their face may have dropped to one side, and the stroke victim may not be able to move half their face.
- Arms – the stroke victim may not be able to lift both arms.
- Speech – the stroke victim’s speech may sound slurred or difficult to understand, it may also be difficult for the stroke victim to understand what is being said to them.
- Time – If the above is present, 999 should be called as soon as possible; the longer the victim waits for treatment, the worse the long-term effects will be as the brain is not receiving blood that will cause the brain cells to die.
What Changes May a Person Face After a Stroke?
The after-stroke effects will be different from case to case, and dependent on how long it took for the stroke patient to get treatment. It is likely that after a stroke the person will need to remain in the hospital for a while in order to be rehabilitated, hopefully to a point where they can regain independence, but this isn’t always the case.
The rehabilitation service will help to re-teach the stroke patient the skills they need to look after themself once again, but the effectiveness will be dependent on the extent of damage the brain received while not receiving blood. The stroke victim may be able to go back to looking after themselves eventually or may need assistance with certain tasks like washing and cooking. It is also possible that in some cases full-time care will be needed.
Best Methods of at Home Care For a Stroke Patient
When returning home from the hospital after a stroke you may be wondering what to do next. The answer will be completely dependent on your loved one’s condition and you and the rest of your loved one’s family’s situation. For a mild stroke where your loved one is able to live risk-free apart from needed help getting to the shops, it may be better for your circumstance to assist with informal care.
If you are wanting to go down the route of informal care it is important to be patient and kind with your loved ones; they may not be the same as they were before due to behavioural changes and possible mental illnesses that can become more prevalent after a stroke.
As a family, there are a number of practices that you can do to ensure the best recovery and quality of life for your loved one.
Encourage Rehabilitation Exercises
Motor impairments are common after a stroke, and addressing these can help your loved one to rewire their brain in a way that brings back and improves their motor skills. Something such as colouring is not only a great stress reliever but a good way to practice hand-eye coordination and therefore helps the brain to regain motor skills.
Seek Advice Where Needed
If you need help when it comes to caring for a loved one after a stroke, then any social worker at your disposal can help. Alternatively, a care agency like Care24Seven can also answer any questions you may have and provide advice where needed.
Help Your Loved One When Needed
After your loved one has a stroke, it can be tempting to do as much as possible for them and let them rest, however, this can be counterintuitive. Many people after a stroke will want to do what they can to regain their independence, and the best way to do this is to do as much as they can for themselves; of course, there may be some things that your loved one struggles with and will need assistance, but try to let them be as self-sufficient as possible.
Look Into House Modifications
If you’re hoping for your loved one to remain in the comfort of their own home then you may need to look into modifying parts of their home to make it safer. Due to the potential balance problems and issues with coordination the risk of falls increases. Investing in things like non-slip mats, grab rails, and even just tidying up the mess that could present a tripping hazard can reduce this risk.
Be On the Lookout for New Stroke Symptoms
After being discharged from the hospital the side effects of the stroke should begin to improve. It is important to be on the lookout for any new symptoms which may crop up in the months after being discharged. If you notice new symptoms make sure to get your loved one to a neurologist or a doctor.
Push Past the Plateau
It is common for stroke patients who are trying to regain independence to start to plateau with their progress at around 3 months. This, however, is more to do with neurological stability as opposed to recovery. The brain is able to heal and recover for years following a stroke so don’t let you or your loved one become disheartened if progress appears to slow down.
Take Care of Yourself
Looking after another person as well as yourself or any other responsibilities in your life is a difficult thing to juggle and can easily lead to burnout. You should make sure you have some time for yourself, which may mean having another family member involved or looking into short-term care from a licensed carer.
Formal at Home Care Options
Sometimes the long-term informal care of a stroke victim may not be in the best interests of your loved one or yourself. There are many options to explore for the professional care of your loved one at home. There are a lot of flexible options to explore at Care24Seven; we are an agency that can deal with all the legal documentation and screening that is required for carers. Whether your loved one just needs a couple of hours a week of care, short-term care while you take some time for yourself, or even full-time care without having to deal with the stresses of relocating to a care home, make sure to get in contact.
Taking care of a stroke victim is difficult and time-consuming, and putting too much pressure on yourself to deliver quality care can result in burnout and lead to neglecting your other responsibilities. Whether you need a professional carer for your loved one at all times, or just for a couple of days, Care24Seven has at-home care options to suit all situations.