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After a stroke, a home support network helps healing

A woman embraces a man in a wheelchair.

Aug. 8, 2019—Stroke survivors often feel anxious—and unprepared—to go home from a hospital, where they've had medical care 24/7. They may worry about the risk of another stroke or how they'll manage at home. And their caregivers may have similar concerns.

But there are ways to help ensure a successful hospital-to-home transition. A recent study found that a home-based support network can help ease the recovery of stroke survivors—and help them feel more in control.

The study divided stroke survivors and caregivers into three groups:

  • One group received the typical education materials, follow-up information and doctor referrals most stroke patients get today.
  • One group was assigned a social work case manager who offered practical and emotional support for 90 days.
  • One group had access to both a social work case manager and a patient website with support resources and more information on stroke recovery and prevention.

Stronger together

The study found that stroke survivors with both a social worker and a website to turn to reported far more improvements in physical health than those with standard care or the social worker alone. They were also more confident about managing their recovery.

The social worker helped survivors find more information about stroke, including how to prevent another one, as well as offering help with financial concerns.

The website featured information on stroke recovery and prevention. It gave tips on managing medication. And it listed local services that could help.

The study appeared in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

What caregivers can do

Everyone may not have access to the same resources used in this study. But if you have a loved one who's had a stroke, you might be able to set up a similar home-based support network of your own. For example:

  • If you think your loved one will need more help at home, ask if a case manager or social worker can be assigned to line up extra support services.
  • Ask your health care team to help you find local resources and reliable online information for stroke survivors.
  • Make sure your loved one makes it to all of their rehab and therapy appointments.
  • Educate yourself about stroke recovery and prevention. And help your loved one do the same.

Need a place to start? Check out our Stroke health topic center.

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