How nurses in a stroke rehabilitation unit attempt to meet the psychological needs of patients who become depressed following a stroke



Fourteen qualified nurses working in a stroke rehabilitation unit were interviewed in order to ascertain their understanding of post-stroke depression, what they do to help a patient who becomes depressed and what they feel unable to do They were also asked what would improve the situation The nurses were able to describe the characteristics of depression following a stroke and recognize its effect on the subject's rehabilitation They were able to identify patients who were becoming depressed and tried to help them to the best of their abilities They felt constrained, however, mainly by lack of time, limited skills and lack of appropriate training They themselves wanted to be able to meet the needs of depressed patients and thought that this could be achieved through better staff education and access to other health professionals experienced in providing psychological care It is recommended that nurses have access to expert personnel both as a source of referral for patients and as a resource for support and guidance to staff In addition, an education programme combining theoretical and practical aspects of psychological care would be useful