Objective: Discuss family caregivers of stroke survivors' changing needs for education and support across the care continuum.
Methods: Conceptual review.
Results: Stroke is a serious, sudden onset illness requiring care across the care continuum. The focus of care, the individuals primarily responsible for providing that care, and patients' self-care abilities change across care environments. Often family members who provide support also experience changes in their caregiving role. To date, however, interventions for family caregivers have not explicitly considered their changing support needs. Our "Timing It Right" framework highlights family caregivers changing experiences and corresponding support needs across the care continuum. Five different phases of caregiver support are discussed: (1) event/diagnosis; (2) stabilization; (3) preparation; (4) implementation; (5) adaptation. The first two phases occur during acute care, the third occurs during acute care and/or in-patient rehabilitation, and the final two phases occur in the community.
Conclusions: Application of this framework has the potential to benefit future intervention efforts by identifying gaps in caregiver education, training, and support.
Practice implications: Recognition of family caregivers changing support needs across the care continuum will assist health care professionals to provide more timely and appropriate support.