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Best place to bring my sister after a stroke

by Thien
(Clearwater FL)

Question: My sister had a stroke. She cannot take care of herself. She needs 24/7 supervision and someone to bathe, clean, help her with bathroom issues, cook and pretty much everything. What are my alternatives? My niece wants to bring her to her house. She has a husband, and 2 kids and they fight all the times.

Answer: I don't know if your sister's stroke is recent or older, but if it is recent, I would first make sure she goes to a rehabilitation facility to see how much she can improve. If she is still dependent, then it may be best to look into a skilled nursing facility. Many stroke victims do go home with family as well. Some families will provide more attentive care than may be received at a skilled nursing facility, but it can be very stressful to be a caregiver especially if there are already other responsibilities such as taking care of children or working or if there are strained relationships such as those that can occur between spouses.

If your niece wants to take what I presume is her mother home, it is important for her to know the responsibility and sacrifice involved and that it will likely cause even more strain on her marriage. At the very least, I would have home health assist as long as possible if she decides to take her mother home with her. It definitely can be done, but it's very important for caregivers to know what the responsibility entails, what sacrifices will have to be made, and to consider what is best for the patient and caregiver. If your niece does decide to take your sister home with her, I would offer as much support as you can (ask family to help give her breaks, buy groceries, offer childcare, etc.) to lessen the burden. I would also talk to her about being open to trying other options if it doesn't appear to be working out or if it causes too much strain on her relationship with her spouse. If she has the financial means, it would probably be best to have a hired caregiver help with her mother at home.

If on the other hand, your niece decides to look into a skilled nursing facility. I would tour various facilities, look at reviews/complaints, make sure they are experienced with stroke patients, talk to residents and thoroughly investigate before placement.

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