How Can Family Members Or Loved Ones Help?
It is impossible to recover from a stroke without support from others. Although your treatment team will provide support while you are staying in the hospital, unfortunately (or fortunately) they cannot go home with you! Therefore, it is essential for family members or other loved ones to learn how to assist you in your recovery process. We consider family members to be vital members of our rehab team. Family members or loved ones should take an active role in learning the needs of a stroke survivor and are expected to attend family teaching sessions and meetings whenever possible.
Changes are inevitable following a stroke and may encompass all or some of the following aspects:
- Physical changes
- Cognitive changes
- Speech changes
- Language changes
- Swallowing changes
- Visual changes
- Daily living changes
- Leisure changes
- Mood and psychosocial changes
While these changes can be frustrating for the patient, as well as their loved ones, caregivers can take steps to lessen complications and encourage improvement. One of the most important things a caregiver can do is be patient, encouraging and respectful. Following the rehab team’s recommendations for exercising, positioning and diet is important to continued progress. Encourage movement and attempting activities, especially those that were routine before the stroke. Reduce distractions and promote a sense of concentration and focus to complete tasks. And, above all, be supportive and motivating.
For more detailed information about how to address each of these types of changes, please refer the Patient & Family Stroke Education Handbook.