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Health & Wellness Resources


Helping Loved Ones After a Stroke


After a Stroke: 4 Ways to Advocate for Loved Ones

When a loved one suffers from a stroke, the days after can be just as scary and stressful as the stroke itself. Suddenly, you’re navigating unfamiliar medical terms, treatment plans and working to understand the stroke’s impact. It’s no surprise that caregivers can feel overwhelmed and even powerless.

Fortunately, there are four simple steps you can take to feel empowered and start advocating for your loved one as they begin their recovery.


1. Educate yourself.

Understand the basics of stroke. It’s the first step to navigating a loved one’s recovery and care. Spend some time reviewing trusted resources, including brochures provided by the hospital or websites like the American Stroke Association, The National Stroke Association and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

If you haven’t already, try to get a general understanding about:

  • The type of stroke your loved one had
  • The area of the brain affected
  • Expected effects of the stroke
  • Recommended treatments including therapy, medicines and rehabilitation


2. Speak up.

You are your loved one’s most important advocate during stroke recovery. Speak up and ask questions to make sure your loved one gets the best possible rehabilitation and care.

Talk regularly with doctors, nurses and therapists about their treatment plan. If you don’t understand something, ask them to explain it again. If you’ve read something you found interesting, share it with the medical team and find out if it could apply to your loved one’s situation.


3. Get ready for discharge.

Leaving the hospital is one of the most stressful times for caregivers. You may find yourself asking:

  • Will my loved one be able to return home?
  • Is our home equipped to deal with any complications from the stroke?
  • Am I able to provide the care my loved one needs?
  • What type of services will my loved one receive in a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center
  • How do I find the right care facility for my loved one? Check out this chart on how to review and choose a rehab center 


Those questions are just the tip of the iceberg and, unfortunately, are not easily answered. Spend time with your loved one’s medical team to fully understand your options.

If your loved one is able to return home, make sure it’s a safe place and can meet their needs. Work with doctors and therapists to understand what is needed, and enlist help getting your home ready. And, if you find yourself seeking short-term rehabilitation or long-term skilled nursing care, take heart knowing there are many reliable options available today, including Heartland Health Care Centers and ManorCare Health Services. We offer a wide-range of services including short-term rehabilitation services to meet the needs of the community and long-term residential care.

Our post-hospital care services help ease the transition from hospital to home, providing the necessary skilled nursing, rehabilitation and support your loved one needs. Long-term options include nursing home care, assisted living and independent living. These types of care can evolve to match the level of support needed to ensure your loved one can live with dignity and as much independence as possible.


4. Build your own support network.

It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re caring for a loved one. Spend time building your own support network before you need it. Know which friend you can call for a long talk, where you can go to relax and unwind, and who can pitch in to lend a hand when you need a break.

For more information on stroke recovery care and to learn more about care options, contact the center nearest you