The post-stroke discharge planning toolkit: helping caregivers of stroke survivors navigate the transition from inpatient setting to home
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Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States and often leaves individuals with physical and cognitive deficits. Stroke survivors are discharging to the home environment in increasing numbers rather than entering a long-term care facility. Family caregivers are needed to provide assistance for engagement in ADL, IADL, communication, and mobility tasks due to the residual deficits resulting from the stroke. Research indicates that caregivers are not adequately prepared in the inpatient setting to assume their new role and are therefore at risk for negative health outcomes and caregiver burnout. This doctoral project intends to address the need in the inpatient setting for proper and adequate caregiver education and training prior to a patient’s discharge home. The Post-Stroke Discharge Planning Toolkit and the caregiver perceived readiness questionnaire will address this need. Specifically, the toolkit will target education on stroke risk factors and complications; eating including swallowing, nutrition, hydration, PEG tube education; bowel and bladder care; positioning; caregiver self-care; supportive problem solving; facilitating of functional transfers, mobility, handling, and lifting; facilitating activities of daily living; communication; psychological aspects of caregiving; and referral services. The questionnaire will help identify gaps in knowledge faced by caregivers and serve as a planning tool and outcomes tool for intervention and evaluation. Ideally, through the use of the Post-Stroke Discharge Planning Toolkit, difficulty with discharge planning and negative health outcome risks associated with assuming the caregiver role can be mitigated or stopped prior to onset. The Post Stroke Discharge Planning Toolkit will be available in print and online.
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