17 April 2013

Recovering After a Stroke: A Patient and Family Guide Consumer Guide : A review

Available online, the “Recovering After a Stroke: A Patient and Family Guide Consumer Guide” by the US Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality published May 1995 is a very handy and useful tool to consult about caring for a loved one who suffered a stroke.

As defined in the guide, “A stroke is a type of brain injury. Symptoms depend on the part of the brain that is affected. People who survive a stroke often have weakness on one side of the body or trouble with moving, talking, or thinking. Most strokes are ischemic (is-KEE-mic) strokes. These are caused by reduced blood flow to the brain when blood vessels are blocked by a clot or become too narrow for blood to get through. Brain cells in the area die from lack of oxygen. In another type of stroke, called hemorrhagic (hem-or-AJ-ic) stroke, the blood vessel isn't blocked; it bursts, and blood leaks into the brain, causing damage.”

The first frustrating thing both the patient and family encounter, is how to understand this debilitating disease. Although medical personnel are always around to offer their help and knowledge, there are times when an advice is needed and one is not near a hospital or around medical help.

This is where the guide truly shines.

The guide educates the reader on all the factors that cover what a stroke patient goes through. It clearly explains all the steps needed for the person to help the patient. From after-stroke procedures all the way to home care, the guide clearly lays all this out in a relaxed and understandable presentation.

As such, this guide should be the first reading material people should read when it comes to patient care. It is a handy book for consulting certain areas or situations regarding strokes and stroke related care.

The guide can be broken down into sections as follows:
  1. Definition of a stroke, particularly ischemic strokes
  2. Recovering from a stroke
  3. What Happens after Acute Care (Acute care is the first step after treating a stroke which includes helping the patient survive, preventing another stroke, and taking care of any other medical problems)
  4. Preventing another stroke
  5. How stroke affects people
  6. Depression after stroke
  7. Rehabilitation
  8. Preparing a Living Place
  9. Deciding about special equipment
  10. Preparing caregivers
  11. Going home
  12. Tips for reducing stress
  13. Follow up appointments
  14. Where to get help
The rehabilitation section alone is more than helpful for someone who needs a background in this important step in stroke recovery. It covers everything one needs to know regarding rehabilitation.

And it shows how important rehabilitation needs as this topic has the most coverage in the guide.

It is not the end-all and be-all for a stroke guide but it will address most of the concerns one has regarding strokes. Only 17 pages long, there are more in-depth books around that will address specific issues regarding the topic.

At the least, it gives everyone a good solid foundation on strokes.

Although it has been more than 15 years since it was published, the guide is still one of the top recommended reads for both patients and loved ones on the subject of strokes and after-stroke care.

Recovering After a Stroke: A Patient and Family Guide Consumer Guide is available online