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Saban KL, Hogan NS. Female caregivers of stroke survivors: coping and adapting to a life that once was. The Journal of neuroscience nursing : journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. 2012 Feb 1; 44(1):2-14.
Despite the prevalence of women caring for stroke survivors, relatively little research has focused specifically on the experience and needs of informal female caregivers of stroke survivors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the experience of female caregivers who care for an adult family member who has experienced a stroke within the previous year using a qualitative methodology. A sample of 46 female caregivers of stroke survivors completed a demographic form and responded to open-ended written questions exploring their experiences as caregivers and how they coped with changes in their lives during the first year after the stroke. Four concepts emerged from the data: losing the life that once was, coping with daily burdens, creating a new normal, and interacting with healthcare providers. Findings suggest that female caregivers of stroke survivors grieve the life that they once shared with the stroke survivor and struggle to cope with multiple family and work demands while trying their best to interact with healthcare providers to attain the best possible care for their loved ones. Recognizing the unique challenges of female caregivers of stroke survivors may help nurses provide better support and resources to meet their needs.