The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the major cause of disability in adults (Xu, 2018). However, with appropriate disease prevention and health promotion, the number of stroke survivors and individuals with serious complications has increased. Mortality rates have also decreased due to improved stroke treatment.
Stroke is considered a disease that develops as a result of long-term exposure to lifestyle-related risk factors. It is characterized by various physical and psychological findings, including sudden numbness and weakness in the face, arm, and legs. Other significant findings for stroke patients include sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, vision problems, difficulty walking, gait imbalance, and lack of coordination (Xu, 2018).
The impact of stroke extends beyond the individual patient to their family and guardian. When a family member is diagnosed with stroke, it can be devastating for the whole family. Family members often experience confusion, shock, and a sense of helplessness. In addition, the patient themselves may feel guilty and begin to grieve and experience depression.
Stroke survivors, especially during the early recovery phase, may exhibit behaviors that are inappropriate or confusing to family members. This can further exacerbate the challenges faced by the family in providing care and support. In cases where the stroke affects the family breadwinner, sudden changes in income levels can lead to depression and stress among the family members.
Healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, play a critical role in ensuring that the patient’s care is prioritized in stroke recovery. More importantly, nurses have a significant responsibility in restoring the patient’s mental health. Farhoudi et al. (2017) emphasize that the overall role of the Stroke registered nurse is to facilitate and support patients who have had an acute stroke to receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Nurses have the responsibility of providing effective and holistic nursing care to stroke patients as well as their family members. For instance, nurses need to allocate regular time to visit the patient’s home and provide counseling. They also need to educate family members on essential approaches to care. Additionally, providing walking support is critical due to gait imbalance and weakness in the legs. Effective communication is also crucial for a successful rehabilitation program, and nurses need to embrace this aspect to facilitate patient recovery (Kirkevold, 2010).
In conclusion, stroke is a significant health issue in the United States and is characterized by various physical and psychological findings. Its impact extends beyond the individual patient to their family, causing emotional distress and potential financial hardships. Nurses play a crucial role in providing holistic care to stroke patients and their families. This includes regular home visits, counseling, education, and support. Effective communication is also vital for successful rehabilitation. By addressing the needs of stroke patients and their families, nurses can contribute to the overall well-being and recovery of stroke survivors.