Stroke: New resource helps Caregivers

    Depression, lack of motivation common for caregivers, as well as
    survivors; A Caregiver's Guide to Stroke Recovery provides valuable
    information for both

    TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - This year, more than half of the 40,000 to 50,000
Canadians who have had a stroke will return home and require some form of help
to perform basic functions. For many caregivers, coping with the realities of
stroke-related disability can be challenging.
    A Caregiver's Guide to Stroke Recovery, available today from Stroke
Recovery Canada, is designed to help caregivers and families, as well as the
stroke survivor, learn to survive and thrive after stroke and reclaim as much
of their lives and independence as possible. The guide, available just in time
for Stroke Awareness Month in June, can be found in rehabilitation centres
across Canada and on Stroke Recovery Canada's website,
    "Stroke affects not only the life of the stroke survivor, but is also
likely to change the lives of an entire family," says Kimberley Dowds,
associate director of National Programs for March of Dimes Canada, which
operates Stroke Recovery Canada. "A Caregiver's Guide to Stroke Recovery is a
much needed new resource that provides practical information to help
caregivers learn to cope with the challenges of caring for a stroke survivor
at all stages of recovery."
    The guide provides valuable information on coping with depression,
motivation, intimacy and treatment options. It also includes a special medical
feature on spasticity, a challenging condition experienced by more than
sixty-five per cent of stroke survivors. Spasticity is the medical term for
when muscles involuntarily "seize up", contracting and becoming tense when
they shouldn't. It's as if the patient is flexing the affected muscles but
without meaning to, and without being able to stop. The result is stiffness,
rigidity and muscle pain that makes it difficult for survivors to perform
activities of daily living.(1)
    "Reducing spasticity can have a huge impact on the lives of patients and
caregivers. If a patient can dress and bathe him or herself, it alleviates
some of the responsibilities of the caregiver, leaving them with more time to
care for themselves and gives some independence to the stroke survivor,"
explains Dr. Farooq Ismail, physiatrist Neurorehabilitation Services at
WestPark Healthcare Centre, Toronto. "Several effective treatment approaches
exist, including physical therapy, oral medications and botulium toxin type A,
approved in Canada as BOTOX, to help reduce spasticity, and promote more
functional independence."
    Don Bonnell, who has been caring for his wife Pat, knows how important
caregiver education is, "My wife had a stroke 12 years ago. When she first
came home I had no idea how I could provide what she needed. Education for the
caregiver is integral to achieving optimal recovery."
    "The guide addresses an important need outlined in the 2006 Canadian Best
Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care, for improved education for stroke
patients and their caregivers at all stages of recovery," says Dowds. "In
fact, caregivers who understand the needs of the patient will positively
enhance recovery and coping."(2)

    Overview of A Caregiver's Guide to Stroke Recovery

    Caregivers will find information and tips on how to help a stroke
survivor reclaim as much of their independence as possible. Following are

    -   Life as a caregiver - Personal stories of caring for a stroke
        survivor that will inspire and educate
    -   Set sail for rehabilitation - Why stroke survivors experience
        different problems (cognitive, physical, pain, spasticity)
    -   Overcoming depression - For caregiver and survivor
    -   Spasticity - A special medical feature describing the condition, how
        it affects the survivor and caregiver and treatment options
    -   Physical therapy - How a physiotherapist can help improve mobility
        and spasticity
    -   Occupational therapy - Occupational therapist provides solutions for
        daily living
    -   Exercise - Some exercises that caregiver and patient can do together
        at home
    -   Nutrition
    -   Intimate Relationships
    -   Services offered by Stroke Recovery Canada as well as a Membership
    -   Guide to Canada's Drug Coverage
    -   Caregiver's Bill of Rights

    Stroke Recovery Canada(TM)

    Stroke Recovery Canada(TM), a program of March of Dimes Canada, is a
national service offering post-recovery support, education and programs for
stroke survivors, their families and health care providers. Through its work
with community groups across the country, Stroke Recovery Canada(TM) provides
Canadians with the resources needed to help Canadians survive and thrive after
stroke. For information or to join Stroke Recovery Canada call 1-888-540-6666
or visit

    March of Dimes Canada(TM)

    March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization
providing support services to people with disabilities, their families and
caregivers across Canada. Find more information call 1-800-263-3463 or visit

    VNR coordinates:

        Live Satellite Coordinates:

    DATE OF FEED:      Friday, June 1, 2007
    TIME OF FEED:      10:00 - 10:30 and 14:00 - 14:30 firm, Eastern
    CO-ORDINATES:      Anik F2C/1B @ 111.1 West
                       Vertical Polarization, D/L Freq. 3740MHz.
                       Audio subcarriers 6.8 left, 6.2 right
                       Trouble ShootNo. 1-800-565-1471

    Physicians and stroke survivors are available for interview in Montreal,
Ottawa, Toronto Calgary and Vancouver.

    (1) About Spasticity. Botox Global News.
        Accessed on May 12, 2007
    (2) Canadian Stroke Strategy.
        Accessed on May 12, 2007.

For further information:

For further information: Ruth Kapelus, March of Dimes Canada, (416)
425-3463 ext. 7254,; Kate Hanna, (416) 848-1404, NATIONAL
Public Relations,

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