In the first few days

Context for discussion

  • The patient will probably have been transferred to an acute stroke unit
  • Complications such as aspiration pneumonia may have occurred
  • The patient has survived but is still unwell, it’s unclear whether he/she will survive, and if he/she survives, how much disability there will be in the longer term
  • Early predictions about likely outcome might turn out to have been either too optimistic or too pessimistic
  • It’s often difficult to communicate directly with the patient
  • The family have now had a few days to reflect on the situation but still have more questions
  • Family and patient may have hoped that early treatment e.g. Thrombolysis might have been more effective. Family may interpret this as ‘mixed messages’ when in fact it reflects difficulty in predicting prognosis at the very early stage after stroke
  • Sometimes families are overseas and so distance telephone conversations are needed

Page last reviewed: 16 Apr 2020