Poststroke depression is common but remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. One explanation for this is that depressive symptoms go unrecognized by stroke survivors and their family caregivers and thus go unreported to the stroke survivor’s healthcare provider. Forty-four stroke survivor–informal caregiver dyads were interviewed using a depression knowledge scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and an adapted version of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire to determine their lay knowledge of depressive symptoms, recognition of poststroke depressive symptoms, and perception of the recognized symptoms. Caregivers and stroke survivors had moderate knowledge of depressive symptoms but had some misconceptions. The most commonly recognized poststroke depressive symptoms by stroke survivors were “feeling like everything was an effort,” “restless sleep,” “difficulty concentrating,” and “talking less than usual.” Caregivers identified that the stroke survivor was “feeling like everything was an effort,” had “restless sleep,” “felt sad,” and “felt depressed.” Three quarters of stroke survivors with high levels of depressive symptoms identified the cluster of symptoms as potentially being depression. Neuroscience nurses are in the unique position to educate stroke survivors and their caregivers about poststroke depressive symptoms, treatment options, and the importance of discussing depressive symptoms with their healthcare provider.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to N. Jennifer Klinedinst, PhD MPH MSN RN, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD.
Sandra B. Dunbar, RN DSN FAAN FAHA, is a professor and an associate dean for academic advancement at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta GA.
Patricia C. Clark, PhD RN FAHA FAAN, is a professor and an associate dean for research at the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.