Abstract WP327: Strategies for Improving Stroke Caregiver Readiness
Introduction: Stroke occurs suddenly causing significant residual impairment for stroke survivors requiring long-term assistance by family caregivers. Becoming a caregiver can be an overwhelming, difficult process and stroke caregivers often experience poorer health and higher mortality rates than non-caregivers.
Methods: In this grounded theory study, we explored stroke caregivers’ needs and assessed their capacity and readiness to assume the caregiving role as the stroke survivor transitioned home from inpatient rehabilitation. Our sample included a comparison group (9 patient/family units) and an intervention group (10 patient/family units) for a total of 19 stroke survivors and 22 family caregivers. Participants were interviewed during inpatient rehabilitation, and at 1 and 3 months post-discharge. In the first interview, comparison group questions focused on understanding family members’ perceptions about how prepared they were to assume the caregiving role. In the intervention group we conducted 1 hour interviews to assess specific domains of caregiver capacity and readiness to assume the role and reported the findings to the stroke rehabilitation team prior to discharge. In the 2 post-discharge interviews in both groups, we explored caregivers’ perceptions about how prepared they were to manage the stroke survivors’ post-discharge needs. Interviews were analyzed using dimensional analysis and coded in NVivo data management software.
Findings: Family members in both groups indicated they were not “ready” to assume the caregiving role and there was not enough time for them to prepare pre-discharge. Dimensions of readiness included having the commitment, resources, and ability to sustain the role. Pre-existing conditions, such as physical and mental health concerns, other roles/responsibilities, and home inaccessibility limited their caregiving capacity.
Conclusions: In order to adequately prepare family caregivers, we must assess their caregiving capacity pre-discharge and develop plans to address gaps so that they will be ready to assume the role long-term. Rehabilitation lengths of stay are often insufficient to address these gaps requiring interventions to help caregivers bridge the gap as they transition home.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.