Abstract T P283: Developing a Stroke Survivor Peer Visitor Program in a Community Hospital
Background and significance: Strokes are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. About 795,000 people experience strokes each year in the US. It is a devastating event that leaves survivors feeling alone and bewildered as they struggle to adjust to new limitations and rebuild their lives. It also affects their families and caregivers who often feel helpless and overwhelmed. The emotional impact of stroke is too often overlooked.
As a primary stroke center, committed to patient and family centered care, we recognized the need to provide support to patients/families affected by stroke in the acute phase. Prior to this program, our hospital did not provide stroke survivor peer visits to any patients diagnosed with stroke.
Purpose: In 2012, the purpose of our program was to provide one or more stroke survivor peer visits to >/=50% of stroke inpatients.
Methods: In February 2012 our first group of stroke survivor peer visitors was trained. The peer visitors then progressed through our hospital’s volunteer program and were ready to begin visiting patients in May 2012. Our primary outcome measure was number of stroke survivor peer visits to patients admitted to our hospital with a diagnosis of stroke.
Results: The data was collected monthly and peer visits were provided to 57 out of 96 (59%) patients with a primary diagnosis of stroke between May 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. The primary challenge was coordinating the scheduling of the peer visits with patient admissions.
Conclusion: A successful stroke survivor peer visitor program in a community primary stroke center requires creative scheduling of visits to consider the needs of the patients, their families, and the peer visitors. We addressed this need by creating a dedicated visiting schedule. The peer visitors committed to visiting on specific days and times. In conclusion, by providing stroke survivor peer visits to patients who have experienced strokes, we have begun to address the emotional impact of stroke and provide hope to these patients and their families that they can successfully rebuild their lives.
Author Disclosures: C. Andrade: None. J. Goulson: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.