Background/Aim: Stroke is a well-documented public health problem in low, middle, and high-income countries. Post stroke, patients are discharged home quite early and usually need help with activities of daily living. This help is usually provided by informal carers. The purpose of this study was to establish the effect of carer education on functional abilities of patients with stroke in a low resource setting where access to rehabilitation post discharge was limited.
Methods: A randomised controlled trial consisting of two groups (control and experimental) each with 100 patients and their carers was used. The carers in the control group received individualised training as was needed to help look after the person with stroke. The patient's functional abilities were measured using the Barthel Index and the Rivermead Mobility Index. Measurements were taken at discharge, 3, 6 and 12 months post discharge from hospital.
Results: Patients were discharged home with low functional abilities and though they improved over time, they did not do so to satisfactory levels. Carer education alone did not result in significant improvements in patients’ functional abilities.
Implications and conclusion: There is a need to devise new ways of providing rehabilitation to patients post discharge from hospital e.g. strengthen domiciliary visits. Carers require more support to enable them to positively influence patient outcomes post stroke.