• literature review;
  • nursing;
  • recovery;
  • spousal caregivers;
  • stroke;
  • transitions


Title. The trajectory of minor stroke recovery for men and their female spousal caregivers: literature review

Aim.  This paper is a report of a narrative review to examine the current state of knowledge regarding the impact of minor stroke on male patients and their female spousal caregivers’ recovery trajectory and quality of life.

Background.  Minor stroke survivors are often discharged early in the recovery process. The perception of the healthcare community that these patients and their female spousal caregivers will experience an uneventful recovery may lead to inadequate preparation for the postdischarge period.

Methods.  A range of databases was searched to identify papers addressing ‘minor stroke’, ‘transitions’, ‘quality of life’, ‘chronic disease’, ‘caregivers’ and ‘spouse caregivers’, including AARP Ageline, AMED, CINAHL, Evidence Based Medicine Reviews, MEDLINE and PsychInfo. Papers published in English from 1990 to December 2006 were included. Thirty-four papers were in the final data set.

Results.  Minor stroke survivors and their female spousal caregivers may experience major challenges in adaptations postdischarge. The trajectory of minor stroke recovery may necessitate a re-evaluation of life plans, rethinking of priorities and integration of resulting disabilities into current and emerging life situations for both stroke survivors and their female spousal caregivers. In many cases these adaptations are compounded by transitions associated with the normal ageing process.

Conclusion.  While there is extensive literature on stroke recovery and the role of caregivers in general, there is little available describing the recovery of minor stroke survivors in relation to the normal ageing process. Further research is needed examining recovery from a transitional perspective, to support nurses and other health professionals discharge planning.