Every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke, making it the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. While it is a life and death matter to get help to someone showing the symptoms of a stroke, the speed of assistance can also make the difference between recovery and permanent disability. According to James Dunford, M.D., “For every minute that goes by once you’re having a stroke, 2 million brain cells die.” Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. While 1 in 6 people will suffer a stroke in his or her lifetime, most people do not know the signs to look for or easily dismiss them. The American Stroke Association leads the celebration of Stroke Awareness Month this May with their acronym F.A.S.T. to empower individuals to be informed first responders:
While a stroke can happen to anyone, it is most common among aging adults. According to the American Stroke Association, “the chance of having a stroke approximately doubles of each decade of life after age 55. These risks compound over time with the myriad of lifestyle behaviors such as poor diet, smoking, physical inactivity, and other conditions they lead to such as high blood pressure, and heart disease. Women are also at a higher risk of both having and dying from a stroke than men. Many people will experience something called, “a transient ischemic attack (or TIA) which are “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting change,” according to the American Stroke Association.
Care After a Stroke
When a loved one has a stroke, family are often the first to step in and become the primary caregiver. Communication, physical, emotional, behavioral, and diet challenges can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. It is also common for household duties to be divided up. When a spouse has a stroke, their responsibilities, such as grocery shopping and preparing meals, managing finances and paying bills, maintaining the home and yard, may fall to the spouse contributing to their overwhelm. Through the process of recovery and rehabilitation, it is crucial that family caregivers and individuals suffering from a stroke to find the right kind of help in the home.
A combination of in-home care and professional care management can be an incredible way to transition out of the hospital and recover at home to avoid institutional care.
In-Home Caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants who:
- Assist with feeding with an awareness of difficulty swallowing and other impacts of a stroke
- Assist with light housekeeping to maintain the home
- Run errands and providing transportation to appointments such as occupational, physical, or speech therapy, or the pharmacy.
- Provide 3 to 24-hour care in the home to assist with daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, grocery shopping and meal preparation, etc.
- Provide companionship from patient and compassionate nursing assistants who can encourage recovery activities and engagement in life
- Reduce anxiety through presence in the home and assistance to maintain safety and adjust to changes in abilities
Care Managers are registered nurses or masters of social work who:
- Manage the transition from the hospital to home and help family accommodate and adapt to the new care and environmental needs and changes in the individual
- Assess the individual and create a customized plan of care that details the holistic care needs within the home
- Manage medications and accompany individuals to doctor appointments to advocate, translate medical jargon, get questions answered and act as a liaison between doctors
- Communicate with the family to provide disease education, tips for adapting to the changes and supporting the recovery process
- Assess the home environment and recommend needed changes for safety and mobility to recover and age in place
- Arrange appropriate in-home care services to provide the day-to-day sustaining care
- Assist with navigating the healthcare maze including benefits, insurance, and paying for care
It is the unique combination of the Care Management and In-Home Care that gives families coping with a stroke Sound Options for care during the recovery. While staying among familiar people and things and maintaining a rhythm of home life, those who are recovering from a stroke can trust in the safety and support of their care team to meet their needs, guide them through the process, and help them live well in their bodies again.
If your loved one or someone you know has suffered a recent stroke let them know they have Sound Options for care here in the Puget Sound region. For more information on getting the help you need today, give us a call at 800.629.7649.
Further Resources from the American Stroke Association:
For more information and tips for stroke caregivers, visit http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/
Published on May 18, 2015.