Addressing the burden of stroke caregivers: a literature review

J Clin Nurs. 2015 Sep;24(17-18):2376-82. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12884. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


Aims and objectives: To examine the empirical literature regarding the risk of burden experienced by the older adult caregiver of the stroke survivor. The scope of this review was limited to older adult family members caring for older adult stroke survivors as evidenced in the literature written between the years of 2009-2014.

Background: This article will explore published research within the past five years (2009-2014) that addresses the issue of burden among older adult caregivers of stroke survivors in addition to the implication for the changes needed within the nursing profession to mitigating the burden experienced by the caregiver. Many stroke survivors are in their 6th decade of life or older, with caregivers approximately the same age. This literature review specifically focuses on the role of nursing and the issue of caregiver burden.

Design: Literature Review.

Methods: A review of the literature published between 2009-2014 related to the lived experience of caregivers of stroke survivors and the role of nursing related to mitigating caregiver burden.

Results: Numerous factors impact the lived experience of caregivers providing care for the stroke survivor. Assuming the role of caregiver has an inherent risk which can result in health compromises for the caregiver. It is the responsibility of the nurse to assess, design interventions and provide education to prepare the caregiver for the demands of the role.

Conclusions: The literature review has shown that research regarding the risk of caregiver burden and the resulting health compromise is scarce. In addition, there is a lack of evidence-based nursing interventions aimed at assuaging the risk of caregiver burden.

Relevance to clinical practice: Caregiver stress culminating in burden is commonly a reason for the eventual institutionalisation of the stroke survivor. Critically assessing and providing for the physical, psychosocial and educational support needs of stroke caregivers will assist in mitigating the daily burden experienced by the caregiver. Caregiver burden often results in psychological and physical health compromise for the caregiver. This literature review will address the role of the caregiver and the responsibilities of nursing to meet the needs of the caregiver.

Keywords: burden; caregivers; caregiving burden; decision making; depression; discharge planning; emotional distress; family caregiving; family nursing; mental health nursing; nursing; older adults; patient education and practice; stress; stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Decision Making
  • Evidence-Based Nursing
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke / nursing*