Public Release: 

'Stroke camp' offers caregivers emotional support, physical relief and education

ISC 16 Wednesday news tips

American Heart Association

Stroke camp provides caregivers with much needed peer support, emotional relief and learning opportunities, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.

Depression, loneliness and social isolation are common among people who care for stroke survivors. The Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp is a two-and-a-half-day experience, staffed by volunteer healthcare providers and therapists, which brings stroke survivors and caregivers together for education, recreation and support activities. Sixty-seven caregivers attended the camps from 2009 to 2015 and answered survey questions about caregiving and their camp experiences.

Researchers analyzed those surveys and found:

80 percent of caregivers felt stroke impacted work and life. Of those, 64 percent noted the strain of having to change personal plans, 43 percent cited being confined to home and 40 percent were concerned with financial pressures.

75 percent noted loss of time and freedom.

50 percent indicated the survivor's loss of the ability to communicate and 45 percent pointed to the loss of companionship as major strains.

50 percent of caregivers felt overwhelmed/stressed/depressed upon returning home from the hospital.

Stroke camp helped the majority of the caregivers who attended. Seventy-nine percent indicated the camp experience made them feel less alone, 77 percent said it recharged them and 58 percent noted it educated them.

The long-term impact and cost-benefit of the camp still needs to be studied, researchers said.


Additional Resources:

Any available multimedia related to these tips are on the right column of this link

Stroke Caregiver Resources
Emotional and Behavioral Conditions After Stroke
Join the AHA/ASA Support Network to talk with others going through similar journeys including depression after stroke.
Follow news from the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016 via Twitter: @HeartNews #ISC16.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Stroke Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

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