Research compiled by U of C student
A lack of outpatient care resources for minor stroke sufferers is taking a significant toll on the daily lives of many families, according to a University of Calgary study.
Research by U of C faculty PhD nursing student Teri Green found a pattern of problems with recuperating stroke patients when it comes to daily dealings with family, friends and work.
Green, who tracked 48 couples from the time they were discharged from hospital every three months, says more needs to be done to follow the progress of stroke patients, many of whom are faced with difficult and lengthy recoveries.
“They felt that they were left out there and we waved goodbye at the door of the hospital and said, ‘OK, you’re on your own,’” said Green.
“Even with the very small population that we studied it was a gap that was identified over and over again by the participants in the study,” said Green.
A clinical nurse at Foothills hospital, Green said she first recognized the need for further research into outpatient stroke care after seeing the struggle of a disc jockey friend who encountered problems as he recovered from a stroke.
Richard and Allison Lamoureux know first-hand the gap that exists, as Richard suffered two minor strokes within a year.
After being discharged from hospital, Richard, 41, was no longer the “happy-go-lucky” man his family knew — Allison and the couple’s four children noticed a big difference in him.
“A stroke causes brain damage, and even though he doesn’t always see it, he’s talking about some of the physical things, as a family we see all the emotional things,” said Allison.
“There’s been times, it’s like, ‘Who are you? Where did you come from?’”
The next step in Green’s research is a larger study to determine deeper recovery trends in minor stroke patients by following them for extended periods to document the social and family problems that exist.
The aim of the study is to improve the way outpatient care is delivered and to provide better information and access to resources for their often long roads to recovery.
Lack of support
Allison and Richard Lamoureux were surprised at the lack of support for stroke patients once they’re released from hospital. Richard suffered two minor strokes within a year.