Caring For Stroke Patients

( — A new study shows that at-home care for stroke patients falls to family members about 75 percent of the time — even when care was being administered by a health-care professional.

Many family caregivers aren’t prepared for the challenges the job presents, the researchers added.

They studied 99 caregivers in New York City who were tending to family members who suffered a stroke or other brain injury. Caregivers were studied both while they were receiving help from a certified home health agency and after the agency’s services were ended.

This study showed that “even while services are in place, family caregivers provide the vast majority of care,” Carol Levine, study author and director of the Families and Health Care Project at the United Hospital Fund, said in a prepared statement.

When the home health agency’s services end — usually because Medicare will not pay for long-term care that does not involve certified nursing or therapy — most family-member caregivers are not prepared for their duties.