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The 6 Best Ways to Facilitate Rehabilitation at Home

When a loved one suffers from a stroke, helping them to recover can present unique issues and several concerns. The most common issue that families face often regards after-care when the patient is ready to come home from the hospital. For example, will the loved one be best suited in a facility that caters to their needs or in the comfort of their own home?

Most people would agree that recovering at home can be an ideal solution. Being at home in a safe, comfortable environment can help give your loved one the emotional boost that they need to stay motivated and energized during their time of recovery, and it can also give them the added support of having family and friends around.

However, taking a loved one home from the hospital to recover from a stroke is life-changing, and a flood of emotions and questions throughout the process is only natural. Often times, the patient is discharged while still frail. Without the necessary information and support structure in place to return to health at home, a stressful and costly return to the hospital becomes more likely.  Here are tips to help manage concerns and needs surrounding caring for a loved one at home:

1. Become knowledgeable: Learn as much as possible about after-care and supporting your loved one following a stroke. Brush up with online research, ask questions when at doctor appointments, and stay informed on symptoms or signs of concern. Write down questions ahead of time so that you don’t forget them. Think about questions such as “What side effects might come with this medication? What warning signs if any should I be looking out for? What activities should be avoided? Should my loved one be left alone or do they need constant care?”

2. Get organized: With various medicines, doctor appointments, and scheduling items, there are many different components to manage.  There are many resources which can help get you organized, such as CareTogether.com. CareTogether allows everyone involved in the care process to access calendar appointments, health updates, and medicine scheduling for the individual.

3. Communicate: It’s important for everyone involved in the care process to communicate their needs, emotions and even frustrations effectively. Although it may be difficult to talk openly, it can greatly relieve stress. You can also look online for caregiver support groups or for neighborhood groups in your area. Remember, you are not alone.

4. Be patient: Stroke recovery is unique to each patient. Some stroke survivors return to full health in weeks or months following their stroke, while others slowly recover over a longer period of time. Be patient and work with your loved one to set small, sustainable goals to help encourage progress and keep your spirits up.

5. Hire a nurse: Healthcare staffing organizations such as BrightStar Care can greatly reduce stress related to caring for a loved one. Homecare agencies can provide the full continuum of medical and non-medical care at home to reduce the need to make outside appointments or trips to the doctor. Use a homecare agency that requires RN oversight on every case and is accredited by the Joint Commission to ensure the best, certified care.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: It can be incredibly challenging and overwhelming it can be to take care of someone living with a chronic illness, whether it’s a family member, partner, or friend. By creating a strong support system, communicating effectively, and finding ways to trim your to-do list, some of the everyday stress can be reduced. Remember, if you are tired, stressed, and overworked, you won’t be as physically or emotionally able to care for your loved one, so don’t feel guilty about taking ‘me’ time or asking for help.

Caring for a loved one following a stroke can be stressful, but it can also be very rewarding. With the right support and plenty of love and communication, you can make it through this difficult time and come out the other side even stronger than before.

By: Sharon Maguire, MS, RN, GNP-BC, Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations at BrightStar Care

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"With the right support and plenty of love and communication, you can make it through this difficult time and come out the other side even stronger than before. "

Community Support

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from you community. A support group specially for caregivers will provide a great forum to ask for help and resources. Other caregivers may be able to answer difficult questions, offer their sympathy and advice, or join you for a good laugh.

To find caregiver support groups in your area, check out Caregiver.com.

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