Stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. In this program of research, we are interested in identifying and finding ways to reduce and ease the burden of care on those most closely affected by a stroke event – the person who experienced the stroke and their family and friends. Post stroke, patients, caregivers, spouses, and children may find they are feeling depressed, anxious, or very fatigued during the recovery period. These emotional and physical effects of stroke can reduce the ability of individuals and family units to enjoy life, to work and to play. Identifying ways to help both in-hospital and after discharge from hospital may improve quality of life for those impacted by stroke.
This program seeks to improve care and outcomes of people living with and recovering from stroke events across the adult lifespan. Stroke severity is strongly related to outcomes associated with stroke recovery and survival and patients with considerable functional deficits are more likely to have negative outcomes than patients with milder stroke. However, people having mild strokes can experience motor and speech abnormalities, hidden disabilities such as fatigue, as well as memory and cognitive impairment. Cognitive changes are often perceived by family members as personality change and are based on observed alterations in the patient’s normal behaviours.
As the leading cause of adult disability, less than 50% of stroke patients employed prior to their stroke will return to work. This imposes considerable cost and hardship on patients and families as well as producing costs to the community.
Outcomes to be assessed in this program of research include: 1) health outcomes of adults (e.g. health-related quality of life, functional status, depression, anxiety, social support); 2) health outcomes of family members and family caregivers (e.g. burden of care, self- efficacy, stress, anxiety, depression, spousal relationships, psychosocial health); 3) efficiency and access to care and services (including use and costs of health services; e.g. physician visits, emergency department visits, hospital, home care, palliative care, and long-term care use); and 5) preferences, satisfaction, and practices of patients, family, and healthcare providers in the delivery and receipt of health services for stroke.
What would you do if your loved one had a stroke?
A common refrain heard from family and caregivers following a stroke patient’s return home is that the patient is ‘not the same as before’ the stroke. How might the challenges that come with supporting a family member post-stroke impact on the family dynamic?
My name is Alana Hitchcock and I am 25 years old and currently 34 weeks pregnant. I work in Childcare as a lead educator and have had a fairly healthy life so far without any serious medical issues. On the 18th of July I found out I had suffered a stroke.