"All the participants perceived a stroke as a life-changing event.They faced a continuous daily struggle to achieve some sense of normality and that required huge amounts of physical and mental effort," said Dr. Key findings from the report, which were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, included:"There is no doubt that strokes have a profound effect on relationships and our research showed many of the physical, psychological, social and emotional issues a stroke can raise," said Ms Thompson, who was named RCN Patient Choice Nurse of the Year 2009.The club, known as Focus (Families Organized for Community Understanding of Stroke), offers a range of social, educational and rehabilitative programs, including a monthly self-help and support group.There, family members - mostly wives, but also husbands and children - discuss feelings about stroke and strategies for dealing with it.She has forgotten that he likes to have the cuffs of his socks turned in a certain way. ''Our children's names are Stephen and Alan,'' he recites. While much has been written about physical changes in stroke, it is only in recent years that information on possible behavorial and emotional changes - and help in coping with them - has been available to victims and their families through so-called stroke clubs.
"Work is currently in progress -- driven by the recent Northern Ireland Stroke Strategy -- throughout the province to address the gap in service provision for the promotion of long term psychological adjustment for stroke survivors and their carers." As a result of the study, which was part funded by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke the researchers have come up with four key recommendations for health care professionals.''That's why we come to the stroke club,'' she said. ''Now I watch the games on TV with him and I make sure I know what teams are winning. ''You could break up your marriage very easily or put your mate away in a nursing home very easily.'' Mrs. "It is important to point out that stroke can happen at any age and many of the survivors who took part in our study were relatively young.Four respondents were aged between 33 and 43, two between 44 and 54, six between 55 and 65 and four between 66 and 78.In the weeks or months after a stroke, the patient may be irritable, demanding, self-centered.Unexplained bursts of crying or laughing are common. While these symptoms generally disappear in time, they take their toll on the family.''Stroke is a crisis that hits the entire family,'' says Dr.Gail Gurland, a speech pathologist and the program's clinical and research director.''One thing that differentiates stroke from other devastating illness is that it is so abrupt and that it sometimes occurs relatively early in life,'' said Mr.Chwat, noting that an increasing number of the club's stroke victims are in their 30's, 40's and 50's. Roughly half the victims lose all or part of their linguistic facility, at least for a time.