Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care: Statement

Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care: Statement

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care that minimizes suffering and improves quality of life should be provided to patients who've survived a stroke, experts say.

The care should be a team effort involving patients, families, stroke specialists and health care providers such as neurosurgeons, neurologists, primary care doctors, nurses and therapists, according to the new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA).

"The majority of stroke patients need access to some form of palliative medicine," statement lead author Dr. Robert Holloway, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., said in an AHA/ASA news release.

"The stroke team and its members can manage many of the palliative care problems themselves. It encourages patient independence and informed choices," he explained.

The statement appears March 27 in the journal Stroke. It says that as a stroke patient or family member, you should expect your health care providers to discuss your preferences, needs and values in relation to medical decisions, and to ask what aspects of recovery are most important to you.

These professionals should also clearly outline the prognosis and provide information on how to deal with physical or mental disabilities caused by stroke. In addition, health care providers should fully explain treatment choices such as CPR, ventilators, feeding tubes, surgery, natural feeding, do-not-resuscitate orders and do-not-intubate orders, the AHA/ASA says.

Health care providers should know the best ways to treat common post-stroke physical symptoms such as pain, and mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety. They should seek the help of a palliative care specialist if necessary, and help preserve patients' dignity and maximize their comfort.

"Stroke is a devastating disease that has received little attention in the area of palliative care so far," Holloway noted.

Each year in the United States, nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke and about 130,000 die from it, according to the AHA/ASA. Permanent disability occurs in up to 30 percent of stroke survivors.

More information

The National Stroke Association has more about stroke recovery.

SOURCE: American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, news release, March 27, 2014

Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.