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Frequently Asked Questions
Stroke support site

Stroke Prevention


Can a stroke be prevented?

You can reduce the risk of a stroke by making lifestyle choices, e.g. not smoking, eating a healthy diet, avoiding obesity, exercising, and regular check-ups with your doctor for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and irregular heart rhythm. Good control of hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) are important.


Is the stroke caused by something I did?

It is not always obvious why someone may get a stroke. We do know that certain risk factors can cause a stroke, being elderly, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, atrial fibrillation being the most common risk factors. When you are in hospital a range of investigations will be done to identify what caused your stroke and what treatment is best to reduce the risk of having a second stroke.


Is stroke hereditary?

Some strokes may be caused by genetic factors and/ or by having lifestyle/cardiovascular risk factors.


Could I get another stroke?

People do not often suffer from repeated strokes, however if you have had a stroke you are at greater risk of getting a second stroke, particularly in the first year. The risk of getting another stroke reduces considerably as time goes on. This can be prevented by following the advice of your doctor, e.g. medication and lifestyle changes.


What are the recommended cholesterol levels?

Previous Stroke, heart disease, Artery disease of legs, Diabetes
Total cholesterol less than 4.5
Bad cholesterol (LDL) less than 2.5


Smoker, High blood pressure, Family history of early stroke/heart disease


Total cholesterol less than 5
Bad (LDL) cholesterol less than 3


What are the recommended blood pressure levels?

Diabetics: At least lower than 130/80
General population: At least lower than 140 / 90


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Stroke Recovery


Why does he/she sleep so much?

Feeling tired is a common complaint after a stroke. Stroke related health issues can really drain your strength or energy. Examples include: heart disease, infections, problems with your bladder or bowel pattern, weight loss caused by changes in eating, poor appetite or swallowing trouble, depression or extreme sadness, chronic pain, muscle weakness or paralysis. Medicine and other treatments may help. They can improve problems with depression or pain which may increase your energy levels. But some drugs that treat stroke related issues can have side effects that leave you feeling tired and worn out. Ask your doctor to explain the side effects of any drugs.


How long will I be in hospital?

You will remain in hospital until your medical condition is stable and you don’t have any complications. There are a number of tests that need to be done to determine the cause of your stroke and plan the best treatment for you. If you need rehabilitation, the length of stay will be determined by your progress and what support you have at home and in the community; the rehabilitation team will plan your discharge with you from early in your stay.


Do most people die from a stroke?

The majority of people survive after their stroke. However, stroke is the third most common cause of death in Ireland after heart disease and cancer


How long does recovery take?

Most return of function is seen in the first few days and weeks. Recovery is a gradual process and varies from person to person; it also depends on the type of stroke you have suffered.


Early recovery is probably due to recovery of function of less damaged and swollen areas of the brain - it can take up to a month for swelling to go out of the brain. Later, recovery probably develops as the person learns techniques to compensate for their impairments. The ‘pattern’ of the recovery depends on a host of factors, so it can be difficult to predict the full extent of an individual’s functional recovery. Continued improvement can certainly be achieved many months and years following a stroke, however, it is usually at a slower pace.


Will I be able to do the things I did before?

The aim of recovery is to become as independent as possible within the limitations of the stroke. You may have to do things differently, but it is important to try to return to your previous occupation/pastimes if it is safe to do so. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy aim to assist you to become more independent in the things you previously did. You may require assistance with some of these things.


Will I get better?

The majority of people get better and progress is gradual. Often getting better may mean learning to do things differently than before and may include lifestyle changes, taking prescribed medication and learning to cope with a disability of some sort.


Will his/her condition get worse?

The condition can get worse if there are medical complications, for example, chest infections, depression, another stroke. It is important to continue your therapy programme at home.


Will someone always have to help me to dress?

Depending on the type of stroke you have you may need to learn new ways to dress or may need assistance when dressing. An Occupational Therapist may be able advise and train you to dress yourself.


Will my memory get better?

Every stroke is different and some people will have memory problems that will resolve quickly, however others may have memory problems for longer periods of time.


Can speech and language therapy make a difference in the early days?

Research has shown that people who had difficulty speaking or understanding speech after a stroke showed significant improvement in language and communication skills after a short term of intensive therapy.


Will my speech get better? How long will it take?

Rehabilitation is a slow and often frustrating process. Improvements in a persons understanding and use of language can be seen after months and even years post stroke.


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The Stroke Unit in St Camillus Hospital


What is the Stroke Unit Mission Statement?

The aim of the rehabilitation service is to provide person-centred care at an optimum level, giving consideration to the diverse physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and social needs of the patients. We acknowledge and support your right to health education and knowledge of options of care, also your family’s right to participate in the plan of care.


AIMS


  • To assist each individual to be as independent as possible.
  • To involve and encourage interest of family and carers in the rehabilitation process
  • To co-ordinate services with other members of the health care team.

What happens when I am admitted?

An assessment will be carried out by the medical and nursing staff, followed by assessment from other members of the team e.g. Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Therapist. Team discussion is frequent so that all aspects of your treatment programme can be reviewed with you. A Multidisciplinary Team “Ward Round” occurs once weekly.


How do relatives/carers get information?

If you wish to discuss aspects of your family member’s treatment and progress, an appointment can be arranged through the Clinical Nurse Manager or Nurse-in-Charge. A family meeting is generally arranged as part of the rehabilitation programme.
You are encouraged to read the leaflets about stroke displayed on the unit to help you understand stroke.


What do I need to bring in with me?

Please bring all your medication. This includes any eye drops or “Over the counter” medicines/tablets you may use regularly.


Other items:


If when at home, any of the following were used, we would like you to bring them into the hospital with you:


  • Walking frame or stick
  • Wheelchair
  • Calliper and/ or special shoes
  • Dentures
  • Glasses
  • Hearing aid and batteries
  • Splints of any kind

If you are not sure about any of these items, please telephone (061) 483640 or ask the Ward Staff.


What clothing is required when going to the stroke unit?

Track suit bottoms and loose upper clothing are recommended for physical rehabilitation activities. Shoes with flat broad heels and good grips are best. Sufficient change of clothing including underwear will be required. Arrangements can be made to have a shoe fitting service in the Rehabilitation Ward.


Suggested toiletries:


Soap/shower gel, facecloth, toothbrush/denture tablets/toothpaste, comb/brush, deodorant, shaving items, tissues and hand wipes.


Is there a chiropody service?

Yes, Chiropody is an important service and is provided.


What are the laundry arrangements?

The Stroke Unit requires relatives to arrange personal laundry.
You may contact the ward staff if you have any difficulties regarding laundry


Is there a hairdresser?

A limited service is available in the hospital salon. You can make an appointment through the nursing staff.


Is there a hospital shop?

Newspapers, chocolate, fruit, minerals and a limited range of toiletries are available from the trolley shop in the mornings Monday to Friday. There are also vending machines for drinks and snacks on the main corridor. The shop is located in the cafeteria.


What can I bring with me for recreational purposes?

Televisions and radios are available in ward sitting rooms and/or in the ward area. You can bring your own radio, portable CD/DVD player, MP3 players but you may want to bring headphones. There is also a small garden at the front of the Rehabilitation Centre.


Can I use a mobile phone on the unit?

Mobile phones are permitted except in the therapy areas. Staff request that they are switched off or put on “silent” at night, as it is important to get your rest and sleep. A telephone is also available for patient use on the unit.


What are the visiting times?

An open policy is observed with regard to visiting hours until 9.00 pm, particularly at the weekends: however priority is given to treatment times and visitors are not permitted in the gym/therapy area unless an arrangement has been made with the therapist.


In the interest of patient comfort and privacy visiting is not encouraged at meal times unless arranged with nursing staff.


What are the meal times?


Breakfast 9.00am - 9.30 am
Lunch 12.00pm - 1.00 pm
Tea 4.00pm - 5.00 pm
Supper 8pm

Special catering requirements can be arranged.


What religious services are available to me?

Roman Catholic – The Chaplain will visit you after admission to the ward. Mass is celebrated in the hospital chapel and is relayed to the ward. Communion can be received once weekly.


Our pastoral care worker visits most days.


Other religious denominations


Your respective minister/religious representative can be contacted by ward staff.



What are the telephone numbers of the multidisciplinary team?

Clinical Nurse Manager/Nursing Staff 061 483 640, 061 483 622


We request that enquires to the following numbers are made during the morning when there is secretarial support so as not to interrupt therapy sessions.


Physiotherapist 061-483 601
Occupational Therapist 061-483 672
Speech and Language Therapist 061-483 620
Day Hospital 061-483 651

The above services are not available at weekends and public holidays.


St. Camillus’ Hospital Reception : 061- 326 677


How do I get into the stroke unit?

The Stroke Rehabilitation Unit accepts people who are 50 years of age or older and from Limerick city and county, Clare and Tipperary NR.


Generally, people are admitted 1-2 weeks after their stroke from the acute hospital.
Your Hospital Consultant or G.P. (if you are at home) can send a referring letter to:


  • Professor Declan Lyons
  • Consultant Physician
  • St. Camillus Hospital
  • Shelbourne Road
  • Limerick
  •  
  • Secretary
  • Tel 061–483 646
  • Fax 061–483 786
  •  
  • Or
  •  
  • Professor Declan Lyons
  • Consultant Physician
  • Department of Medicine
  • Mid Western Regional Hospital
  • Dooradoyle
  • Limerick
  •  
  • Secretary
  • Tel 061-482 491
  • Fax 061-482 509

Can I get a private room in the stroke unit?

There are single rooms which are allocated to patients for medical or nursing needs or for bed management reasons.


How long will he/she be in the stroke unit?

He/she will remain in the stroke unit for as long as he/she is benefiting from inpatient rehabilitation. The doctor and other members of the rehabilitation team will provide advice about the rehabilitation program and set realistic goals with the person. They will also start planning discharge with you early in the rehabilitation program.


Have I access to a social worker?

No. Unfortunately there is no social worker employed for the Stroke Unit. You should contact your local health centre and enquire if they provide a service.


How long will I have therapy for?

This will depend on availability of services in your area. If you are an inpatient in St Camillus Stroke Unit you will receive therapy intensively during your stay. You will be offered therapy as an outpatient for as long as you continue to make progress


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Stroke Support Club


Is there a Stroke Support Club?

Yes, the club has been in operation since 2005. New members are very welcome. There are more details about the club on this website. Contact the coordinator; 087 2546742


Do I have to join the Stroke Club in order to attend?

No, come along we’ll be happy to meet you.


He / she won’t go anywhere-could someone take them out?

Contact the club co coordinator and we may be able to arrange telephone contact / home visits until he / she gets to know us. He / she may then be happier to join the club.


Is there counselling available?

The co coordinator has names and phone numbers for counsellors in the region.


Is there someone / somewhere I can ring if I have questions?

You can contact the coordinator at any time on 087 2546742, if it is outside hours, just leave a name and number and your call will be returned.


Is there transport to and from the club?

The club may be able to arrange transport for you if you speak to the co coordinator.


When he/she is at home, can I ring the Stroke Club if I need advice?

The co coordinator will be more than happy to chat and pass on any advice which may be useful.


Who can I contact if things get too difficult or I need support?

The club was set up to support families living with Stroke so the co coordinator will be happy to speak with you and possibly put you in touch with another club member who is having similar experiences. You should also contact Public Health Nurse.


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General Questions


What are the signs of someone having a stroke?

Stroke is a medical emergency. You need to seek medical attention immediately.
Signs of a stroke may include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

For more information click here.



Where can I get incontinence wear?

Contact your Public Health Nurse at your local health centre. You will need a medical card to avail of incontinence wear through the HSE. There is a variety of incontinence wear available, sizes, styles to suit your needs. Your Public Health Nurse will talk to you about this.


How can I deal with incontinence issues?

There may be a number of reasons why someone is incontinent, as a consequence of stroke or for some other reason. You need to talk to your doctor and Public Health Nurse to see if the incontinence can be treated or managed better. Often just by going to the toilet every 2 hours during the day will keep the person drier.


For more information click here and here.


How long will I have to wear “Ted” anti- embolic stockings for?

Anti-embolic stockings are usually provided when you are admitted to hospital and have poor mobility. They help to prevent a clot forming in the veins in your legs. They can be removed when you become mobile again or if you are on medication to thin your blood. They can be useful to reduce swelling in your ankles / feet. It is important to remove the stockings to check your skin regularly and to clean and moisturise. Your Public Health Nurse or doctor will advise you.


Can I fly/travel?

When your medical condition is stable and you have spoken to your doctor about planning a trip there is no reason why you shouldn’t travel again. You also need to inform your insurance company. You also need to consider other precautions if going on a long journey, particularly if your mobility has been affected by the stroke, e.g. prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Speak to your doctor about this


Is there any wheelchair accessible taxis/public transport?

Yes. Most taxi companies have wheelchair accessible transport. Contact the taxi or hackney service in your local area or the Stroke Support Club coordinator on 087 254 6742 for phone numbers.


Can I smoke?

Smoking is a risk factor for stroke or having a second stroke. If you have difficulty giving up smoking you should talk to your G.P. or you can be referred to a smoking cessation officer within the HSE.

For advice, help and support on giving up smoking call The National Smokers Quitline on 1850 201203
For more information click here to see some additional information from the HSE.


Will I be able to return to work?

The type of stroke and level of resulting disability will impact on whether it will be safe and practical for you to return to work. Getting back to work is another goal of your rehabilitation but you may find it difficult to access such services without talking to an Occupational Therapist. A vocational assessment service is available in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin to people under age 65 who have had a stroke. The aim of this service is to consider vocational options, working with you, to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, skills and experience. Together with the rehabilitation team you should discuss the best way to approach your employer about returning to work, possibly in a phased way. You may need to make some adaptations or changes if your stroke has affected your ability to manage computers or machinery that is relevant to your job. Many workplaces will have an occupational health service which is meant to help you and your workplace to adapt to your present condition.


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Medication


Do I have to stay on medication?

Generally yes. The choice of medication for stroke depends on your individual condition. It depends on what may have caused the stroke and what is required to prevent another stroke. Many people take medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Your doctor will be able to inform you on the best course of action for you.


What is Warfarin ?

Warfarin is a tablet that thins the blood to help prevent clots forming around the heart. It can be prescribed for artrial fibrillation. Careful monitoring of your blood is required.


How much alcohol can I have with Warfarin?

The best advice is to not to drink alcohol while you are taking Warfarin. Since this is not practical for everyone, only a daily moderate amount of alcohol is suggested, 1 or 2 units of alcohol only. Remember, 1 unit is ½ pint of beer or 100ml glass of wine or a measure of sherry/spirits. You need to talk to your doctor about this.


How will I manage my medication?

A prescription will be given to you on discharge from hospital for your doctor and pharmacy. An explanation of your medicines can be provided by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are having difficulties with understanding, opening the packet or swallowing your medicines you need to contact your Public Health Nurse and GP. Your pharmacist may be able to help. If you are in the Stroke Unit in St Camillus Hospital a medication education programme may be incorporated in your preparation for discharge. Remember, like with any medicine, if there are side effects you must always consult your G.P or consultant and always follow the instructions.


Why am I on cholesterol tablets if my cholesterol is normal?

Research has shown that a combination of medication may help to reduce the risk of another stroke; this may include the use of “statins.” The choice of medication depends on your individual condition. You need to ask your doctor what your medications are for.


The tablets I was on in the hospital have a different name to the ones the chemist gave me what do I do now?

While in hospital the names of the tablets are written in their generic name, the chemist sometimes uses a trade name and a different supplier but if you look closely at the packet the generic name should also be there in smaller print. If you are not sure talk to your pharmacist. Drugs can have different trade names in different countries.


What are the side effects of medication?

Most medication has a list of side effects in the information that comes with the packaging. It is important to tell your doctor the names of all the medications you are taking including “over the counter” drugs, vitamins or herbal products as these may interact with the medicines you have been prescribed.


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Therapy and Rehabilitation


How often can I come back for physiotherapy/speech/occupational therapy?

There is no fixed ration of rehabilitation that is right for everyone – how long your rehabilitation continues will depend on the problems you have and the progress you are making as well as the resources available in your area. Therapy is a process which involves goal setting between you and your therapist. As time goes by after your stroke, your situation may change. New problems may arise or old ones resurface. If this happens to you, you may ask your GP to refer you back to the appropriate therapist for a reassessment of your problems for further treatment or advice.


I need special shoes to walk where do I get them?

A Physiotherapist or your Public Health Nurse can refer you to an appropriate service.


Will I get the use of my arm again?

The likelihood of improvement of function in the arm after stroke varies considerably. Some patients will demonstrate complete recovery of their arm. It is very important to listen to the advice of your therapist and nurse about what will help movement to return and about positioning of the arm. Sometimes due to the severity of the stroke and the area of the brain affected, you may need to use adaptive devices to help you eat, wash yourself, prepare foods or dress. The Occupational Therapist will advise you on what adaptive devices you need.


Why do I have pain in my shoulder?

Pain in the shoulder of the affected arm is not uncommon. In most people, pain is a sign that the body is being harmed in some way. With a stroke, that is not always the case. Sometimes stroke damage to the brain can make even normal touch feel painful. In other cases, pain is felt as a result of muscle tightness or weakness. Your weak shoulder is prone to injury if it is pulled strongly and should be supported.


Will I walk again?

Independent walking is a primary goal and a reasonable expectation for most patients. If you have achieved sufficient standing balance and leg activity, walking may be an option for mobility. Your Physiotherapist will advise whether an assistive device such as a walking stick or frame is necessary. A walking stick or frame does not compensate for standing balance but it does take some weight off your weak limb, which makes it easier to walk. In some cases other devices such as ankle braces or splints may help you to walk better. Again, your therapist needs to assess and advise you.


Why does he / she not read the paper anymore?

There are a number of reasons as to why someone who has suffered a stroke may not read as they did before their stroke. It could be due to tiredness, visual processing difficulties or cognitive problems. A Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist can assess someone to determine why they are not reading and treat as appropriate.


Can she get help for his/her speech?

Communication impairment known as Aphasia occurs in many people who have had a stroke. Speech and Language Therapists help people with aphasia find the best method to communicate while they are trying to improve their communication abilities. Contact your local health centre for information about speech and language therapy services in your area. If you are living in limerick city and west limerick area there is an adult speech and language therapy service available for inpatients and outpatients located in St Camillus Hospital.


What happens after physiotherapy is over?

The time will come when your ‘formal’ rehabilitation ends and you will no longer have therapy sessions with professionals. This does not mean the professionals concerned do not expect you to make any further recovery. Progress does not necessarily stop just because therapy sessions have finished. Continue to set yourself realistic goals and work towards them by continuing to use the knowledge and skills which you have learned during your rehabilitation.


How often can I come back for occupational therapy?

This will be based on the amount of benefit being gained from having occupational therapy and the availability of occupational therapy services. As every stroke is different there is no set amount of therapy for everyone. Each person should discuss this and set goals with their Occupational Therapist.


Why can’t I get speech and language therapy and occupational therapy in the Mid Western Regional hospital?

There is currently no speech and Language therapy or occupational therapy post in Limerick Regional Hospital.


How do I access private therapy?

Your GP may refer you to a private therapist.


Please follow the link to private Physiotherapists in the Mid-West Region. Private Occupational Therapists can be found on www.privateot.ie and www.aoti.ie. Private speech and Language therapy can be difficult to obtain in the mid west. Contact the Speech and Language Therapist in your local health centre.


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Swallowing Problems


If he / she has a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) inserted, will it get infected?

As in all surgical procedures there is a risk of infection. This can be reduced by maintaining good hygiene. If an infection occurs, the area is swabbed and a specimen is sent to the laboratory so that the appropriate treatment can be commenced. Signs of infection may be redness, swelling and tenderness on the skin around the tube site. Infections often resolve rapidly with local skin care and an antibiotic. Visitors / caregivers should clean their hands thoroughly and use the alcohol gel provided.


Why can he/she not eat?

After a stroke many people have difficulty swallowing, a condition called dysphagia. When the throat muscles are weak they may not be able to prevent fluids or food from entering the airway or lungs which cause pneumonia.


Will I feel hungry when on a tube feed?

Sometimes you can still get sensations of feeling hungry at the start until the dietician prescribes the best nutritional feed that suits you. Some people miss the taste of food in their mouth but generally people adjust quite quickly. The nurse will show you how to keep your mouth moist and clean.


Can she have a normal diet and swallow properly again?

Many people with dysphagia may be able to swallow some modified texture of food and drink. Most dysphagia recovers within a few weeks but in some cases it may persist.


Why is he drooling?

Drooling occurs when the muscles in the face become weak. The lips are unable to remain closed which causes saliva to seep out of the mouth.


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Transport and Driving


How can I be reassessed for driving?

The Irish Wheelchair Association provides a driving assessment and tuition service for drivers with disabilities. Please contact the National Mobility Centre on 045 893 094/5 or email maats@iwa.ie


When can I drive?

Driving is not always a safe activity for people after a stroke. Physical difficulties and visual processing difficulties as a result of a stroke can prevent somebody from ever returning to driving. You need to inform your insurance company of your medical history.


How can I adapt my car so I can drive again?

Driving is not always a safe activity for people after a stroke. Physical difficulties and visual processing difficulties as a result of a stroke can prevent somebody from returning to driving. The Irish Wheelchair Association provides a driving assessment and tuition service for drivers with disabilities. Please contact the National Mobility Centre on 045 893 094/5 or email maats@iwa.ie
There are grants available for transport.
Mobility Allowance – Click here for further information
Mobility Transport Grant – Click here for further information
There is also tax relief for disabled drivers and passengers. Click here for further information


How will I get transport?

You may be able to get into the passenger seat of a car, an Occupational Therapist may be able train you and your carer to do so safely. Alternatively an adaptation to the passenger seat may make getting in an out safer and easier. A wheelchair taxi can take a person in a wheelchair. Some therapy departments can offer transport to and from clinics. The rehabilitation service you are attending may provide a bus service for the surrounding localities. This service varies from location to location and you will need to discuss your options with your therapist. Other options include family members providing transport, taxi service or rural transport services.
There are grants available for transport.
Mobility Allowance – Click here for further information
Mobility Transport Grant – Click here for further information
There is also tax relief for disabled drivers and passengers. Click here for further information
There are many companies that can supply adapted vehicles. Click here for further information


Where can I get a Disabled Person’s Parking Card for the car?

This is administered through the Irish Wheelchair Association. Send a note detailing from name, address, and nature of your disability with a self addressed envelope to The Irish Wheelchair Association, Driving Section, Clane, Co. Kildare. Contact them on 045 893094/5 for further details. Your GP will be required to complete a small section of the application form.


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Depression and Mood


Is depression after a stroke common?

Yes. 30-50% of people can suffer from post stroke depression. Coping with a stroke can be very difficult for the person and for loved ones. Understanding the nature of the stroke, the likely prognosis and acknowledging the difficulties you are all facing can help. Support the person’s efforts to make decisions, visit and talk but relax with the person too. Sometimes medication is needed to treat depression.


Why is he/she crying every time I visit?

Following a stroke many people cry very easily, even if they don’t feel particularly sad. This is referred to as “emotional lability” This inappropriate emotional response is a sign of injury to the brain, it can be distressing for everyone; sometimes it helps the person to distract them or change the subject.


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Relationships


Will my relationship be affected by my stroke?

Like any major life crisis stroke can impact on the relationship you have with a partner, other family members and friends. A stroke may affect you physically, cognitively or emotionally. It takes time to adjust to the longer term effects of the stroke. Returning to things you did together prior to the stroke may take time and involve some changes.


Can I resume sexual activity after a stroke?

There’s no reason why a stroke survivor can’t resume sexual activity as soon as they feel ready to do so. Couples who have enjoyed sexual relationships before the stroke are often fearful of resuming them in case a further stroke should result. There is no evidence to show this happens. Be aware that your feelings about your body may have changed since your stroke.


Can we leave them alone?

As each person’s stroke affects them in a different way, it is best to seek the advice of the health professionals involved in the care of the person who has had a stroke.


Why doesn’t he/she recognise us?

Some people who have strokes have damaged a part of their brain that processes visual information, or memory and this may be why he/she does not recognise you. Sometimes this can be resolved in time. Creating a routine during the week can be beneficial for the person who has suffered a stroke.


How can family help?

The role of your family and friends is of vital importance in coping when you return home. The natural response for many carers and relatives is to be protective, but sometimes this can interfere with the person having the opportunity to practice their skills as prescribed by the clinical team. The role of relatives and carers is to strike a balance between being protective and encouraging independence – the best way to achieve this is with continuous communication with the person with the stroke and the clinical team.


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Entitlements


What are my entitlements as a carer/disabled person?

Please contact your local Social Welfare Office or Citizens Information Centre. Click here for more information
www.welfare.ie
www.citizensinformation.ie


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Discharge and Support


What will happen when I go home?

Your G.P and Public Health Nurse will be informed by letter about your stroke management and their role in monitoring your health and medical needs. Depending on the type of stroke you have had, your age and resources available, arrangements will have been made for further rehabilitation, training, assistance with personal care and assistance with household duties. You should talk to your G.P. and Public Health Nurse if you have any difficulties coping with things.
If you have been in hospital it is a big step to think about going home. A home visit with the Occupational Therapist and a short stay at home may be arranged before you are discharged. This can help identify any problems that may arise after you go home for good. An Occupational Therapist may recommend modifications to help you be more independent at home. It will also help you and your family to prepare for your homecoming.


I want to go home but how will I cook and manage for myself?

Before going home ideally you will have an assessment from an Occupational Therapist and together you can decide whether cooking and looking after yourself is something that is possible and safe. The Occupational Therapist can offer advice and training to enable you to be more independent. There are equipment and aids that the Occupational Therapist might recommend to help you. However you may require assistance from family members or a home help. The level of help required may be low or high depending on how the stroke has affected you. Going home after having a stroke is a big change and even if you feel you will manage, having help, even if just initially, is a good idea.


What adaptations to the home will benefit improvement and ensure safety?

Again every person who has had a stroke will have unique needs. An Occupational Therapist can assess safety in the home environment and can advise about any necessary aids and adaptations. Examples of adaptation include:


  • Ramping steps at front door to allow for easier access to the home
  • Removing mats and rugs to reduce risk of falls.
  • Rearranging furniture to allow for easier and safer access.
  • Bringing a bed downstairs when it is unsafe for the person to climb them.
  • Installation of raised toilet seats, a bath swivler , shower stools etc.
  • Extending house to include a downstairs toilet and shower.
  • Removing bath or shower and installing a level access shower.

There are grants available from County and City Councils to carry out works. These include:


  1. Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. Click here for more info
  2. Mobility Aids Grant. Click here for more info
  3. Housing Aid for Older Persons Click here for more info

Where can we get a hospital bed?

A Public Health Nurse or Occupational Therapist will assess whether or not a hospital bed will be needed at home. Medical card holders can be provided with one on loan from community stores.


Do I have to pay for equipment for my house?

An Occupational Therapist or Public Health Nurse may recommend equipment that will increase your independence and safety. Medical card holders will be provided with this equipment on loan. There may be a delay in obtaining this equipment.


How do I get a downstairs toilet or stair lift for my mother?

An Occupational Therapist can assess safety in the home environment and advice about any necessary aids and adaptations. In most cases a downstairs toilet will be beneficial. However a stair lift can be dangerous for some people who have suffered a stroke. There are grants available from County and City Councils to carry out works. These include

  1. Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. Click here for more info.
  2. Mobility Aids Grant. Click here for more info.
  3. Housing Aid for Older Persons.Click here for more info.


Will I need a wheelchair?

Some people may require a wheelchair after suffering a stroke. Some people need to use a wheelchair for mobility others need it for travelling longer distances only. People have different types of wheelchairs depending on their level of need.


How do I get a wheelchair?

You can be assessed for a wheelchair by an Occupational Therapist or sales representative from a wheelchair sales company. Medical card holders who require a wheelchair can receive one on loan once assessed. It is advisable that advice of a health professional is sought before obtaining a chair. Assist Ireland has information about the suppliers of wheelchairs if you are purchasing one yourself.
www.assistireland.ie
Wheelchairs can also be hired from a variety of places. The stroke Support Club Co-ordinator has a list of local hire shops/agencies.


Is there a grant available for help with house modifications?

There are grants available from County and City Councils to carry out works. An occupational therapy report is often required to accompany these grants. These include

  1. Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. Click here for more info
  2. Mobility Aids Grant. Click here for more info
  3. Housing Aid for Older PersonsClick here for more info


How long will I be waiting for a housing grant to adapt my house?

Please contact your local City or County Council Housing Department. The length of the waiting list will vary from time to time.


How do I contact my Public Health Nurse?

By calling into or telephoning your local health centre. The best time is between 09.30 hrs -10.00 hrs. Monday to Friday.
County Limerick - Click here for more info
County Clare - Click here for more info
County Tipperary - Click here for more info


How do I hire a carer?

Please click here for a list of carer organisations


Will there be frequent reviews by medical practitioners?

If a review is required by a Specialist Consultant this will be arranged by your G.P. or when you leave hospital. Generally your G.P. will monitor your health and medical condition.


How do I access services in the community?

Through your Public Health Nurse at your local Health Centre. If you are in hospital you may be referred to services in the community before your discharge. The Public Health Nurse will call to your home and assess your needs. He or she will discuss the options available and refer you to the appropriate services.


Can we get Home Help to assist us?

You can apply to your home help organiser through your local Health Centre or Public Health Nurse. This is means tested. Your Public Health Nurse will be able to advise you of other supports that you may be eligible for. Click here for information on support for carers


I live alone, what support is there for me?

The most common supports available are organised through your Public Health Nurse. These are usually in the form of a nurse calling to your home, a home help or a personal assistant. Other supports may include having meals provided or attending a day centre. The Public Health Nurse will advise you about what is available in your local area. List of health centres can be obtained from the HSE website.

Limerick - Click here for more info

Counselling Nurse for Persons with Disability
Tel 061 483718/ 483733
Fax 061 483994

County Clare - Click here for more info.
Home Help Services- Clare Care Services Tel: (065) 682 8178

Counselling Nurse for Persons with Disability, Disability Unit, Tobartaoscain, Ennis, Co Clare.
Tel 065 6863694 / 6863671
Fax 065 6863682
County Tipperary – Click here for more info

Tipperary (N.R.) /East Limerick
Counselling Nurse for Persons with Disability,

Roxtown Health Centre, Old Clare Street, Limerick.
Tel 061 483096 / 417622
Fax 061 419063


What happens if I feel I won’t be able to manage him / her at home?

You need to discuss your concerns with the nursing and medical staff when making important discharge decisions. It is important to get Information as to what help is available to you in the home and community. The effects of the stroke will be easier to handle if the family know what to expect and how to handle problems that arise after the person leaves the hospital. Contacting agencies for carers and the Stroke Support Club may help you cope better.


What respite options are available for carers?

Respite is available in a variety of settings; nursing homes, continuing care hospitals, respite centres, in-house respite, utilising the respite grant.


What will I do if I need a break?

Respite can be arranged though your Public Health Nurse and your G.P. It is often arranged by the nursing staff prior to leaving hospital and is usually planned some weeks in advance. You should consider availing / applying for respite even if you feel you are coping well at the moment.

Click here for your local Citizens Information Centre about benefits/financial assistance for more info


Or telephone LO-CALL 1890 777 121


Can I stay in St Camillus Hospital long term?

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is a scheme of financial support for people who need long-term nursing home care. When you apply your care needs are also assessed. The assessment will consider whether you can be supported to continue living at home or whether long-term residential care is more appropriate. The assessment will also consider your wishes and preferences, for details about applying for the nursing home support scheme and continuing care contact:
Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary HSE Nursing Homes Support Office St. Josephs Hospital, Mulgrave Street Limerick Tel. 061 461499 HSE infoline 1850 24 1850


Or click on the Nursing Home Support Scheme, a Fair Deal on the HSE website

Nursing Home Support Scheme Application Form


How can I pay for a nursing home?

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme is a new scheme of financial support for people who need long-term nursing home care. It replaces the Subvention Scheme which has been in existence since 1993. Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, you will make a contribution towards the cost of your care and the State will pay the balance. This applies whether the nursing home is public, private or voluntary.. For details about this contact the above links/telephone number as in the previous question

What are my entitlements to disability payments / carer allowance / respite allowance?

The Citizens Information Centre is an excellent resource to help you start sorting things out and will advice you of what is available to you.
Click here for more info.
www.citizensinformation.ie

Or telephone LO-CALL 1890 777 121
You can also call into your community welfare officer at your local health centre or visit the HSE website for information on entitlements etc.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service
If you have concerns about managing your budget there is an office in the HSE that can help you.
Tel 1890 283 438
www.mwhb.ie/healthservices/elderly/eld_wel.htm#money

A list of your local Social Welfare Offices can be found on the website.
http://www.welfare.ie/contact/index.html#Mid_West
or LO- CALL 1890 66 22 44
Social Welfare Benefits information can also be found at the citizens information website, click here for more info.


How do I apply for a medical card?

You can obtain an application form from your community welfare officer at your health centre or Citizens Information Centre.


Click here for more info.


www.citizensinformation.ie


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Links


Where can I get more information about Stroke?


Further information is obtainable from the links below.
www.irishheart.ie/iopen24/defaultarticle.php?cArticlePath=7_19_76
www.irishheart.ie
www.headwayireland.ie
www.strokeassociation.org
www.strokecenter.org
www.stroke.org.uk
www.differentstrokes.co.uk
www.eurostrokecouncil.org
www.strokescheme.ie/

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