Early Caregiver Training in Stroke
Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes) have a widespread and profound impact on survivors and caregivers, their quality of life and their ability to engage in occupations. Shortened hospital stays, limited access to post-acute rehabilitation, and often drastic changes in an individual’s functioning, can leave caregivers untrained and unprepared at discharge. The focus of acute care is limited to medical stabilization and discharge of the patient, resulting in a missed, and sometimes sole, opportunity to support and prepare caregivers through education and training. The current healthcare climate and review of the literature support the need for an early, standardized education program for caregivers that is clear, systematic, and readily accessible to clinicians and caregivers. The establishment of a formalized program in the acute care setting provides an opportunity for improved outcomes in functioning and quality of life and health for caregivers and survivors of stroke. Benefiting stakeholders, this program serves as a template for other settings. In addition, this program contributes to the scholarship of occupational therapy (OT), positioning the profession as a visible leader in hospital discharge planning and preparation.