Aim and objective. To explore the long-term effects of a discharge-preparation programme targeting Taiwanese family caregivers of older patients with stroke.
Background. Little is known about the effects of interventions for caregivers of patients with stroke in Asian and Chinese families.
Design. A randomised experimental design was used.
Method. Participants included 158 older patients with stroke (72 in the experimental group and 86 in the control group) and their family caregivers. A caregiver-oriented intervention programme was designed to increase caregiver preparedness, to enhance caregiver perception of balance between competing needs and to satisfy specific needs during the transition between hospitalisation and discharge. Long-term outcomes were measured by caregiver’s health-related quality of life, quality of care, stroke patient’s self-care ability, patient’s health-related quality of life and service utilisation. Longitudinal data were analysed by the generalised estimating equation approach.
Results. During the 12 months following discharge of older patients with stroke, caregivers in the experimental group provided significantly better quality of care (β = 0·45; p = 0·03) than the control group. Between the sixth–twelfth months following discharge, patients in the control group were more likely to be institutionalised than those in the experimental group (χ2 = 5·11; p = 0·03).
Conclusion. Using a sample from Taiwan, this intervention programme succeeded in improving quality of care provided by family caregivers to older patients with stroke and in decreasing the likelihood of their institutionalisation.
Relevance to clinical practice. Older Chinese patients with stroke and their family caregivers can benefit from an individualised programme that prepares caregivers for patient discharge. Similar programmes may be applicable to other countries with Chinese populations.