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Caring for someone who has had a stroke is challenging. If you are cast into the role of a stroke caregiver, talk to the various medical professionals involved about your loved one’s condition and find out what to expect going forward. The more knowledge you have, the better. Here are twelve tips that can help make things easier for both you and the patient.

Understand the medications

Take steps to learn as much about the stroke survivor’s medications as possible, including their potential side effects.

Modify your home if necessary

Depending on how the stroke has affected your loved one, your home may need to be modified to meet their needs.

Reduce risks

Someone who has survived one stroke is at high risk of having another. To prevent this as best you can, make sure the stroke survivor is nourished with a healthy diet, engages in some exercise, takes their medications as prescribed, and keeps their healthcare appointments.

Understand gains

Gains vary – they can happen quickly or more slowly over time. The fastest stage of recovery is usually the first few months immediately following the stroke. However, some patients continue with the recovery process well into the first and second years after their stroke.

Measure progress

The level of acute rehabilitation therapy that may be necessary immediately following a stroke depends partially on how much improvement is taking place. Stroke patients are expected to achieve measurable gains in physical and mental functions every week.

Think about physical therapy

If your loved one gets dizzy spells, is unbalanced, has difficulty walking, or is unable to cope with routine daily activities, assistance may be needed from a physical or occupational therapist.

Take falls seriously

Falls after a stroke are quite common. If the stroke victim keeps having minor falls, talk to your doctor to determine if the patient should be referred to a physical therapist. If a fall is bad and there is severe pain, bruising, or bleeding, escort your loved one to the emergency room.

Monitor any differences in attitude

For instance, if your loved one is having a tough time controlling emotions, consult a healthcare provider to come up with a plan of action.

Be aware of depression

Depression following a stroke is common.  After-stroke depression can have a significant effect on recovery and rehabilitation.

Pay attention to insurance coverage

Find out how much and for how long your loved one’s insurance (whether private or government) will cover medical and rehabilitation services. If rehabilitation services are denied because of a lack of “medical necessity,” obtain relevant records from the patient’s healthcare provider and contact the insurance company.

Expect changes in services

Rehabilitation therapies may be covered by Medicare if the patient’s level of physical function has declined. Any change (either an improvement or a deterioration) in motor skills, speech levels, or self-care ability, may translate into eligibility changes for services.

Look for support

Research community resources for stroke survivors and stroke caregivers in your area.

Stroke Caregivers Don’t Have to Cope Alone

Many factors influence how well someone recuperates from a stroke. These include the region of the brain where the stroke occurred, how much brain area was affected, the survivor’s health before the stroke, the patient’s motivation, and the level of caregiver support. Being a stroke caregiver can be hard, time-consuming work, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. If you live in the area of Columbia, South Carolina, Caring Healthcare can take much of the burden off your shoulders. Give us a call to see how we can help you and your loved one.