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Stroke

 

Understanding Stroke

Suffering a stroke is not uncommon among seniors.  In simple terms, a stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Without blood and the oxygen it carries, part of the brain starts to deteriorate and can lose functionality. The part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain may result in not operating properly. Brain damage can begin within minutes, so it is important to know the symptoms of stroke and to act quickly. The speed with which treatment is delivered once the signs of stroke are detected can help limit damage to the brain and increase the chance of a full recovery.


EssentialCare Support Staff are trained to recognize these symptoms should one occur while they are with your senior.  They are also trained to aid in the care of those who have suffered stroke by performing the following activities:

 
  • Bathing
  • Bed bath
  • Shower
  • Sponge bath
  • Shave
  • Shampoo
  • Oral care
  • Brush teeth
  • Denture care
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Comb or brush hair
  • Skin care
  • Assist with nail care
  • Change adult briefs 
  • Assist with incontinence
  • Assist with bedpan
  • Assist with urinal
  • Assist with commode
  • Reposition bed-bound clients to help prevent bedsores
  • Assist with active range-of-motion activities
  • Transfers
  • Ambulation
  • Feeding
  • Assist to bathroom
  • Medication reminders
  • Maintain fluids
  • Notate food intake
  • Notate urinary output
  • Notate bowel function

Risk Factors

Some risk factors for stroke — age, gender, family history and race — are a function of genetics or cannot otherwise be altered. Other risk factors can be modified, treated or managed.

  • Age: Increased age is the dominant risk factor for stroke.
  • Gender: Men have a slightly higher risk of getting stroke than women; however, by age 75, stroke is 26% more common in women than in men.
  • Family history: A family history of heart disease or stroke before age 65 increases one's likelihood of stroke.
  • Race: Black Canadians and Asian Canadians have a higher rate of stroke than Caucasian Canadians.
  • Previous transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke: A person having a TIA will experience stroke symptoms for a few seconds, minutes, or up to an hour, then the symptoms will pass. A TIA may leave little or no permanent brain damage; however, up to 20% of people who have had one or more TIAs are at risk of having a stroke within a year.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking can lead to stroke. Quitting smoking can reduce a person's risk of stroke by 22% after two years, and by 90% after four years.
  • High blood pressure: Left untreated, high blood pressure brings a 40% chance of stroke within ten years.
  • Diabetes: Adult-onset diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) is also a significant risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Elevated blood cholesterol: Excess cholesterol clogs the arteries, increasing the risk of stroke.
  • Excess weight/obesity: Excess weight can cause a person to develop high blood pressure and diabetes, which are risk factors for stroke. The greater the obesity, the greater the risk of stroke.
  • Physical inactivity: Exercising for 20 minutes, three times a week helps guard against stroke and several risk factors for stroke-high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
  • Excessive alcohol use: Heavy drinking (more than two drinks a day) and binge drinking appear to increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Irregular heartbeat: Atrial fibrillation occurs when the muscle fibres in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart beat out of rhythm. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for ischemic stroke.



How we can help?

EssentialCare Support Staff are trained to recognize these symptoms should one occur while they are with your senior.  While each individual is slightly different, EssentialCare has the experience of working with thousands of seniors across many years.  Many of these seniors are recovering from a stroke.  You can be confident that EssentialCare not only intends to provide your senior with the best care possible, but that we have also worked with patients in a similar situation many, many times.  When it comes to a stroke, we know that reaction time is of the essence.  Below are a couple of points to consider when seeking care for your senior who has suffered a stroke or who may suffer one due to age or other factors:

  • Is my caregiver partner sufficiently experienced to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
  • Does my caregiver partner have a plan to take swift action should a stroke occur while my loved one is in their care?
  • If I have any hesitation about the first two questions, do I want to leave my loved one to their care?

 

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