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Improving Stroke Caregiver Readiness for Transition From Inpatient Rehabilitation to Home

Purpose: As the population ages, older adults are more often living with functional limitations from chronic illnesses, such as stroke, and require assistance. Because stroke occurs suddenly, many stroke family caregivers in the United States are unprepared to assume caregiving responsibilities post-discharge. Research is limited on how family members become ready to assume the caregiving role. In this study, we developed a theoretical model for improving stroke caregiver readiness and identifying gaps in caregiver preparation. Design and Methods: We interviewed 40 stroke family caregivers caring for 33 stroke survivors during inpatient rehabilitation and within 6 months post-discharge for this grounded theory study. Data were analyzed using dimensional analysis and constant comparative techniques. Results: Caregivers identified critical areas where they felt unprepared to assume the caregiving role after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Steps to improve preparation include (a) conducting a risk assessment of the patient and caregiver; (b) identifying and prioritizing gaps between the patient’s needs and caregiver’s commitment and capacity; and (c) developing a plan for improving caregiver readiness. Implications: The model presented provides a family-centered approach for identifying needs and facilitating caregiver preparation. Given recent focus on improving care coordination, care transitions, and patient-centered care to help improve patient safety and reduce readmissions in this population, this research provides a new approach to enhance these outcomes among stroke survivors with family caregivers.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
Oxford university press
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
The Gerontologist
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page