Since the majority of stroke survivors return home following their stroke, families play a pivotal role in their care. Few studies have addressed both positive and negative aspects of this role or the broader construct of health-related quality of life (HRQL). Furthermore, little consideration has been given to the context of care in terms of relationship quality, and reciprocity. The present study examined the relationships between caregiver quality of life (HRQL), caregiver role, relationship satisfaction, balance and reciprocity in caregivers of partners who had experienced a stroke. Specific hypotheses were made based on equity theory in social relations.
Fifty-six partner caregivers completed a postal survey that included measures of HRQL (SF-36), caregiver role (negative and positive aspects), relationship satisfaction, reciprocity and balance. Data were also collected on the care recipients' quality of life (Stroke Specific Quality of Life scale).
Compared to a normative sample, caregivers' HRQL was lower for all SF-36 domains. Care recipient and caregiver age, care recipient quality of life and caregiver role (negative) significantly predicted physical component summary scores on the SF-36, while care recipient quality of life and caregiver role (negative) significantly correlated with mental component summary scores. Relationship satisfaction and intrinsic rewards of caregiving were found to be important predictors of positive aspects of the caregiver role. Caregivers who viewed their relationship as less balanced in terms of give and take had significantly greater caregiver burden than those who viewed their relationship as more equitable.
The study highlights the importance of taking a broader approach to examining partner caregiving in the context of stroke, in terms of the caregiving relationship and their influence on the health and well-being of caregivers.
Cites: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002 Feb;17(2):184-811813283
In Sweden, individuals affected by severe stroke are treated in specialized stroke units. In these units, patients are attended by a multiprofessional team with a focus on care in the acute phase of stroke, rehabilitation phase, and palliative phase. Caring for patients with such a large variety in condition and symptoms might be an extra challenge for the team. Today, there is a lack of knowledge in team experiences of the dilemmas that appear and the consequences that emerge. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to study ethical dilemmas, different approaches, and what consequences they had among healthcare professionals working with the dying patients with stroke in acute stroke units. Forty-one healthcare professionals working in a stroke team were interviewed either in focus groups or individually. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. The ethical dilemmas that appeared were depending on "nondecisions" about palliative care or discontinuation of treatments. The lack of decision made the team members act based on their own individual skills, because of the absence of common communication tools. When a decision was made, the healthcare professionals had "problems holding to the decision." The devised and applied plans could be revalued, which was described as a setback to nondecisions again. The underlying problem and theme was "communication barriers," a consequence related to the absence of common skills and consensus among the value system. This study highlights the importance of palliative care knowledge and skills, even for patients experiencing severe stroke. To make a decision and to hold on to that is a presupposition in creating a credible care plan. However, implementing a common set of values based on palliative care with symptom control and quality of life might minimize the risk of the communication barrier that may arise and increases the ability to create a healthcare that is meaningful and dignified.
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec, 525, Wilfrid-Hamel Blvd East, Québec (Québec), G1M 2S8, Canada. email@example.com
Many people who have suffered a stroke require rehabilitation to help them resume their previous activities and roles in their own environment, but only some of them receive inpatient or even outpatient rehabilitation services. Partial and unmet rehabilitation needs may ultimately lead to a loss of functional autonomy, which increases utilization of health services, number of hospitalizations and early institutionalization, leading to a significant psychological and financial burden on the patients, their families and the health care system. The aim of this study was to explore partially met and unmet rehabilitation needs of older adults who had suffered a stroke and who live in the community. The emphasis was put on needs that act as obstacles to social participation in terms of personal factors, environmental factors and life habits, from the point of view of four target populations.
Using the focus group technique, we met four types of experts living in three geographic areas of the province of Québec (Canada): older people with stroke, caregivers, health professionals and health care managers, for a total of 12 groups and 72 participants. The audio recordings of the meetings were transcribed and NVivo software was used to manage the data. The process of reducing, categorizing and analyzing the data was conducted using themes from the Disability Creation Process model.
Rehabilitation needs persist for nine capabilities (e.g. related to behaviour or motor activities), nine factors related to the environment (e.g. type of teaching, adaptation and rehabilitation) and 11 life habits (e.g. nutrition, interpersonal relationships). The caregivers and health professionals identified more unmet needs and insisted on an individualized rehabilitation. Older people with stroke and the health care managers had a more global view of rehabilitation needs and emphasized the availability of resources.
Better knowledge of partially met or unmet rehabilitation needs expressed by the different types of people involved should lead to increased attention being paid to education for caregivers, orientation of caregivers towards resources in the community, and follow-up of patients' needs in terms of adjustment and rehabilitation, whether for improving their skills or for carrying out their activities of daily living.
Cites: Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2004;2:5315383147
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Cites: Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1982 Jun;63(6):276-77082155
Modern stroke rehabilitation should be conducted on a step by step approach towards final achievable objectives. Guidelines about how to introduce this in daily work are however missing. The aim of the present study was to create and introduce a paradigm with intermediate and final objectives in a multidisciplinary stroke team.
Over a period of eight months the staff was trained to use team conferences to evaluate and formulate intermediate and final objectives. The staff s ability to formulate correct objectives and their knowledge about previously agreed targets were evaluated monthly through a questionnaire.
The number of objectives that were accurately formulated improved from 50% to 90% and the caring team' s awareness of these improved from 45% to >80g.
This model can be used to improve the multidisciplinary caring team's ability to formulate objectives and keep current objectives in mind in the daily work in a stroke unit.