Stroke patients should receive customized palliative care

March 27, 2014

People recovering from a stroke should have a well-coordinated medical team to personalize care, optimize quality of life and minimize suffering, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

The statement is the first in the United States to outline fundamental for . Palliative care is patient- and family-centered care that improves life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering.

"The majority of need access to some form of ," said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the statement and professor and chairman of the neurology department at the University of Rochester in Rochester in New York. "The stroke team and its members can manage many of the palliative care problems themselves. It encourages patient independence and informed choices."

Palliative care should be a collaboration between patients, families, a stroke team and various providers, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, primary care providers, nurses and therapists, he said.

As a stroke survivor or family member, you should expect your healthcare provider to:

  • Talk about your preferences, needs and values as a guide to medical decisions.
  • Discuss what aspects of recovery are most important to you.
  • Have effective, sensitive discussions about your prognosis, how to deal with physical or mental losses from a stroke, and if necessary, of dying, among other serious topics.
  • Guide you through choices about life-sustaining . Providers should address pros and cons of CPR, ventilators, feeding tubes, surgery, do-not-resuscitate orders (DNR), do-not-intubate (DNI) orders and natural feeding.
  • Know the best treatment options for common post-stroke symptoms, including pain, other physical symptoms and psychological problems like depression and anxiety.
  • Engage a palliative care specialist if complex issues arise.
  • Help preserve dignity and maximize comfort throughout the course of a stroke, including during the dying process and when nearing death.

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

Nearly 800,000 people have strokes annually. About 130,000 -related deaths occur in America yearly. Up to 30 percent of all survivors are permanently disabled.

Explore further: Lack of support for stroke survivors with visual impairment

Related Stories

Lack of support for stroke survivors with visual impairment

March 24, 2014
More than a quarter (26%) of stroke survivors living with visual impairment do not receive adequate support, new research from the University of Liverpool reveals.

Stroke systems of care essential to reducing deaths, disabilities

August 29, 2013
Several key elements in systems of care can reduce stroke deaths and disabilities, according to a new American Heart Association/American Stroke Association policy statement published in its journal Stroke.

Misunderstanding of palliative care leads to preventable suffering

December 13, 2013
A new review says palliative care's association with end of life has created an "identity problem" that means the majority of patients facing a serious illness do not benefit from treatment of the physical and psychological ...

Involving other providers in palliative care may help meet growing demand

March 6, 2013
As baby-boomers age and the number of people with serious chronic illnesses continues to rise, the demand for experts in palliative medicine is sure to outstrip the supply, according Timothy E. Quill, M.D., professor of Medicine, ...

Older, active, confident stroke caregivers are happiest

March 20, 2014
Stroke caregivers are happier when they continue to enjoy their own hobbies and interests, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Stroke survivors often return to driving without being evaluated for ability

February 13, 2014
Stroke survivors often resume driving without being formally evaluated for ability—though stroke can cause deficits that can impair driving, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International ...

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.