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“Caregiving is a full‐time job” impacting stroke caregivers' health and well‐being: A qualitative meta‐synthesis

Family caregivers contribute to the sustainability of healthcare systems. Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability and many people with stroke rely on caregiver support to return home and remain in the community. Research has demonstrated the importance of caregivers, but suggests that caregiving can have adverse consequences. Despite the body of qualitative stroke literature, there is little clarity about how to incorporate these findings into clinical practice. This review aimed to characterise stroke caregivers' experiences and the impact of these experiences on their health and well‐being. We conducted a qualitative meta‐synthesis. Four electronic databases were searched to identify original qualitative research examining stroke caregivers' experiences. In total, 4,481 citations were found, with 39 studies remaining after removing duplicates and applying inclusion and exclusions criteria. Articles were appraised for quality using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP), coded using NVivo software, and analysed through thematic synthesis. One overarching theme, ‘caregiving is a full‐time job’ was identified, encompassing four sub‐themes: (a) restructured life, (b) altered relationships, (c) physical challenges, and (d) psychosocial challenges. Community and institution‐based clinicians should be aware of the physical and psychosocial consequences of caregiving and provide appropriate supports, such as education and respite, to optimise caregiver health and well‐being. Future research may build upon this study to identify caregivers in most need of support and the types of support needed across a broad range of health conditions.

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John Wiley & Sons
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Health & Social Care in the Community
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