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Caring for Stroke Patients: A Caregiver’s Guide

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How do I care for a stroke survivor at home?

Looking after a stroke survivor can be daunting and challenging, but with the right care, they can continue to live an independent life at home. For advice, contact healthcare professionals, including GPs, nurses and carers. Having them as your first point of contact is always useful.

It is also important to have a positive outlook, as recovery time can vary. It can be a frustrating process for the individual, especially if they have always been active and independent. So, it is important to ensure you continue to offer encouragement and motivation throughout the process.

For further information, listed below are 10 requirements of basic stroke care that can help you.

Domiciliary care vs. live-in care

Domiciliary care, also known as care at home is becoming a popular choice amongst families across England and Wales. It allows stroke survivors to receive care without having to compromise their routine and independence. Domiciliary care allows carers to work around existing routines and provide support when the customer needs it.

Stroke patients can receive domiciliary care or visiting care for as little as 30 minutes a week. Essentially, this is for those who want support at regular times each week. Carers can help with your weekly shopping, prepare breakfast and dinner or assist with getting dressed in the morning.

Live-in care is a viable solution if an individual needs consistent support throughout the day and night. Live-in care is when a carer stays at home to provide round-the-clock care, reassuring customers that someone is on hand when they need assistance and support.

What does a domiciliary care worker do?

A domiciliary care worker can support you no matter what condition you are living with including stroke. They can help with personal care such as bathing and getting dressed. Carers can also help with preparing meals, mobility and taking customers out into the community. Whether customers need company on a walk or to the café, carers are there to provide companionship.

10 requirements of basic stroke care

When it comes to stroke aftercare, you must cover the basics. Here are 10 requirements needed when it comes to caring for a stroke survivor:

1. Be compassionate and empathetic

Regardless of what condition an individual is living with it is important to be compassionate and empathetic towards them. It can be a difficult journey, especially if their recovery takes longer than expected. There will be some tasks they won’t be able to do or may take longer to complete, such as ironing or laundry. Offering support and an encouraging word can always boost their mental well-being. Just put yourself in their shoes and that will allow you to provide the best possible care.

2. Support with routine

Remaining at home allows the individual to maintain their day-to-day routine. However, stroke survivors may need additional support with their routines. For example, their morning routine may consist of getting up, getting dressed, having breakfast, and reading the daily newspaper. However, a carer may need to assist with getting them changed into their clothes, preparing breakfast or may even need to buy the daily newspaper. Continuing with routine can have a huge benefit on recovery and mental upkeep. So, it is important to maintain this and provide support where necessary.

3. Provide emotional support

Emotional support is crucial. A carer acts like a soundboard and needs to listen and provide encouragement when needed. It can be frustrating for the individual as they may feel things aren’t going their way and may start to lose hope. So having a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen to their concerns will be beneficial for them.

4. Explore interests and hobbies

We understand there are limitations to what you can and cannot do after having a stroke. But try and continue to explore the individual’s interests and hobbies. If they enjoy playing chess, challenge them to a game, if they enjoy reading the newspaper, grab the paper for them or if they love classic movies, sit and watch a film with them. This is a great way to keep their mind active and will benefit their mental well-being.

5. Always provide encouragement

Encouragement is a great way to motivate an individual during their recovery process. It will also give them hope and reassurance. It is natural to feel down, especially as it’s not a straightforward process. Any improvement big or small, make sure you celebrate it and reassure them every single day.

6. Encourage regular exercise

You need to encourage individuals to participate in physical activity after a stroke. You must seek advice from the GP or physiotherapist before carrying out any exercises, as you don’t want to cause more harm. Regular movement helps with recovery and keeps individuals active. Even if it is walking from the kitchen to the living room, it is important to keep them moving as much as they can.

7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle reduces the chance of another stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “choosing healthy meals and snack options can help you prevent stroke.” So, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is a must.

Incorporating regular physical activity and limiting alcohol can also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

8. Whenever you need advice, consult a healthcare professional

If you are ever in doubt or need nutrition, exercise or care advice it is always best to get in touch with a healthcare professional such as a GP, pharmacist, or nurse. They have hands-on experience dealing with stroke patients, so their advice is invaluable.

9. Make sure medical records are organised

Ensuring medical records are organised and kept in a folder can help monitor the recovery process. Keeping a note of changes in behaviour or any new symptoms is important too, so you can mention these changes to the GP or nurse.

Look after yourself

Finally, take out time for yourself. Caring for a stroke survivor is fulfilling but can be demanding at the same time. Try and take breaks when you can and do things that you enjoy. Whether that’s reading a book, making a cup of tea or just watching your favourite TV programme, it is always important to recharge your batteries.

Domiciliary care assistant job application

If you are looking for a domiciliary care assistant role, get in touch today. You can apply via our careers page and fill out an application form. If you are an international applicant, you can apply too. Good luck!

Page reviewed by Deanna Lane, Senior Clinical Lead on October 12, 2022