During February there is usually a lot of media attention given to Film awards: Who will win, What they will wear, Will they cry? Here at CLAHRC we have our very own OSCARSS (Organising Support for CARers of Stroke Survivors), and just as the Academy Awards have the Best Supporting Actor category, our study is looking at the people who are vital in supporting stroke survivors – their partners, family or close friends who take on the role of informal caregiver (or “carer”).
A stroke can change someone’s life in an instant and survivors often need significant help in day to day activities, so their loved one’s lives can also change overnight. The Stroke Association offers long term support to stroke survivors, with a range of services for “Life after stroke”. While many Stroke Association staff will have included carers in discussions of how everyone is coping as part of their assessment, it has been suggested that many carers tend to put on a brave face and do not ask for help, even though they are taking on a demanding new role. Now the Stroke Association is participating in a research study, called the OSCARSS study, to evaluate the effectiveness of approaches to identify and support the needs of carers of stroke survivors. Central to this study is a research user group made up of people with experience of caring for stroke survivors, who have helped every step of the way, from exploring approaches to supporting carers, to supporting how the study is delivered in practice.
As of today, the study has been delivered to the Stroke Association staff involved from 30 areas across England and Northern Ireland and carers are now being recruited to the study.
While they may not all be on red carpets, we know there are hundreds of best supporting actors and actresses out there, making sure that the show can go on. We are hopeful that this work will contribute to helping make their lives a little easier.