As an OT, I sat through discharge meetings where caregivers were silent. Some may have been too stunned to ask questions. Others may have thought problems would disappear because the stroke survivor would completely recover (1). Reality may not set in until caregivers struggle to get a family member inside his or her home. I learned how intense demands are on caregivers after I went home alone after a stroke. After 17 years, I know how many caregiver tasks have to be done to keep a stroke survivor out of a long-term care facility.
I was excited when I read about a caregiver questionaire that is given before a stroke survivor is discharged from rehab (2). Staff can use the questionaire before the client goes home to ask caregivers what they were thinking as they answered each question. This creates an opportunity to change what caregivers know and encourage them to ask for help before they get into trouble. And a dialogue is so much better than handouts. homeafterstroke.blogspot.com
1. Lutz B et al. Improving stroke caregiver readiness for transition from inpatient rehabilitation
to home. The Gerontologist. 2016; Vol 00:No.00,1-10. doi10.1093/geront/gnw135. 2. Camicia M, Lutz B, Harvath T, Joseph, J. Using the Preparedness Assessment for the Transition Home After Stroke Instrument to identify stroke caregiver concerns predischarge: Uncertainty, anticipation, and cues to action. Rehabil Nurs. 2021 Jan-Feb 46(1):33-42.