Towards an understanding of the lives of families affected by stroke: a qualitative study of home carers

Authors


Correspondence to R. Cecil:
e-mail: r.cecil@ulster.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim

To explore caring and coping among carers of stroke survivors and identify factors that had an impact on their lives.

Background

Informal carers carry the main responsibility for the care of stroke survivors in the community, which can have a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of carers. However, the circumstances of caring differ for each carer: this study identifies the diverse factors that can cause caring to be burdensome for some carers and less so for others.

Design

Qualitative descriptive study.

Methods

A convenience sample of 30 carers of stroke survivors were interviewed in 2008–2010, following hospital discharge of the stroke survivor.

Results

The impact that the stroke event had on the participants of this study varied enormously. Not only did the health status and well-being of the stroke survivors vary greatly but it was also clear that many different factors had an influence on the impact of the stroke on the carer and on how each of them coped. Nine thematic categories were identified, which fell into three broad categories: (1) the impact of the stroke event on the carer; (2) the extrinsic factors that support the caring scenario; and (3) the intrinsic factors that help a carer to cope with the new role.

Conclusions

This study provided an insight into the circumstances where caring for stroke survivors takes place. These factors that have an impact on caring and carers should inform the nursing assessment of needs of carers of stroke survivors in the community.

Ancillary