CARE FOR CARERS OF STROKE PATIENTS: EVIDENCE-BASED CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES
Carers of stroke patients provide informal care ranging from physical help to psychosocial support. As a result, these carers may experience high levels of burden, associated with characteristics of the patients and of the carers themselves. This burden can result in a deterioration of the carers' health status, social life and well-being. The carers may thus be seen as colleagues of professional carers in sharing the care for the patient, but they should also be seen as “patients” having problems and special needs themselves. In this paper new Dutch clinical practice guidelines are presented. These guidelines are formulated in response to an expressed need to improve professional support for this group. We believe these guidelines are also relevant for other countries, since the evidence was gathered through systematic searches of international literature and none of the guidelines that we were able to find in other countries already included this evidence. New, or more detailed topics in the Dutch guidelines, in comparison with existing international guidelines, are added (e.g. young children). Three topics concerning carer burden are presented in more detail in this paper, which are based on systematic literature searches: partners at risk of burden, assessing burden in carers and interventions for carers.