Family Fears Can Affect a Patient’s Stroke Recovery

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Tue, 04/01/2014

Family Fears Can Affect a Patient’s Stroke Recovery

After a stroke, family members and friends of the patient often show more anxiety and fear about a reoccurrence than the patient themselves.1 This anxiety and fear can interfere with the patient’s recovery.1 A study of 69 patients and their families recovering from hemorrhagic stroke found family members fears often interfered more with the patient’s recovery than their own fears.1

Fear of recurrence among the family members and friends, but not the patients, were important in four key quality of life measures:

  1. Social functioning
  2. General health perception
  3. Physical functioning
  4. Role limitations due to emotional problems

There are two kinds of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic.3 A majority of strokes, about 80%, are ischemic which is caused by a blood clot cutting off the flow of blood to the brain.2 The other 20% are hemorrhagic, caused by bleeding into or around the brain tissues.2 The affects of a stroke are related to the area of the brain that is affected and how severely it was injured.2 The risk of reoccurrence not only depends on the type of stroke, but also the individual and their situation.

Family and friends have an important role in the recovery process for the patient. It can be very stressful and challenging to care for a stroke survivor. However, by promoting recovery in a positive manner, it will positively affect recovery.3 Caregivers not only need to take care of the patient, they also need to take care of themselves in order to maintain a positive outlook.1

  1. Covery J, et al. Family and friends' fears of recurrence: impact on the patient's recovery after subarachnoid hemorrahage. Journal of Neurosugery. 2013; DOI: 10.3171/2013.5.JNS121688.
  2. Stroke Center.org. What is a Stroke? Page accessed February 12, 2014. http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/what-is-a-stroke/
  3. National Stroke Association. Caregivers and Families. Page accessed February 12, 2014. http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=care