“In preparation for the videos, we did many interviews with carers and asked them what they would have liked to have known in the early days and weeks after stroke and what would they have done differently?” she says.
“Generally, carers don’t know what questions to ask, many people just wait to be told what to do and they trust the health professionals to tell them what they need to know.
“In talking to health professionals, we know that they do provide information to patients and carers, but often this is provided just once, and no-one checks if this information has been understood or remembered. Patients and carers in hospital are under a lot of stress, and they often don’t process information accurately or they can completely forget whole conversations.
“The online module and videos are there so that when someone comes to the ward with their loved one who has suffered a stroke, they have some tips on what sort of things to look out for, and tips on how to cope that they can look over as often as they like. It’s about helping carers identify their own learning needs and advocate for themselves to get the information they need.”
While strokes are often thought of as a health episode affecting older people, they in fact do strike at any age, although high blood pressure, being overweight, being inactive, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high intake of alcohol put people at greater risk.
“One in five Australians will have a stroke at some point in their life and one in three strokes occur in people under the age of 65, so these are people of working age and that is a big deal,” Dr Lynch says.
“It’s becoming more common for young people to have strokes, but we don’t have the services to meet their specific needs around returning to work, driving and managing a family. These needs are different to the needs of older people who may be nearing retirement or past working age and have different responsibilities in life.
“While we can’t change the turmoil that comes when a loved one has a stroke, we are striving to support carers to get all the information they need so that they and their loved one can live their best life possible.”