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Decline months after stroke?

Question: My dad had a stroke June 2020 on the right side of his brain, and he seemed to be slowly getting better over time. However, in the past couple of months (Feb/March 2021) he has been getting worse not better. He’s a lot more forgetful and he keeps fumbling his words, and he is incredibly fatigued. I’m at university so he’s always with my mum who is really struggling to cope, but the doctors are doing nothing to help either of them. Any ideas for what could be causing this regression and how we can get help?

Answer: Has your father had a new brain scan since these changes have occurred? If not, then I would suggest requesting the MD order one letting them know that there has been changes, and I would communicate it in writing as well as verbally, so that you can hold them accountable if they do not respond. Outline why you want a new scan, mentioning specific changes and the burden it has caused for your mother. It is not uncommon for medical professionals to try and blame all symptoms on a previous stroke which may not be the case. You and your mother know your dad, so you will be more aware if there has been a decline/change vs. a doctor that may only see your father for a 5-10 minute appointment once or twice a year. You could also request new therapy orders (seems like speech would be most appropriate in this case) or for the MD to evaluate your father's sleep/medications. Caregivers have to be the advocate, but you really have to go in with specifics to the doctors, so they will know what the problems are and how they can help you. Often patients and caregivers will go in and say vague statements, and doctors will not realize the extent of the problem.

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