Managing as carers of stroke survivors: Strategies from the field

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Family members are required to provide increasingly complex care to relatives in the home. Stroke is a major cause of disability and there is increasing pressure being placed on carers to provide on-going support to stroke survivors living in the community. This study involved interviewing carers to determine their perspectives on the support and educational needs they require and the coping strategies they used. Data analysis revealed that carers experienced considerable uncertainty about their role as carers and their future and that they used a number of coping strategies to manage in their caring role. The coping strategies adopted by the carers included remaining positive, adapting to change, comparing their situation with others who were worse off, changing their employment status, humour, switching off and using family support. It is important for health care professionals to understand the complex role of the carers and to advise them on strategies they can use to assist managing this role.

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