Stroke is a major cause of death in developed countries. Its prevalence and disability burden are expected to increase in the future because of an aging population. The consequences of stroke are specific to the individual. Whereas some patients experience long-term functional and cognitive deficits, others may recover completely and be discharged quickly. Counseling is needed to help patients and their families cope with the effects of stroke after discharge. This is a systematic literature review with a narrative analysis. The purpose was to describe the content and characteristics of stroke patients’ counseling. A review of studies published between January 2000 and February 2013 describing stroke patients’ counseling was conducted by CINAHL and Medline databases. Studies were selected based on inclusion criteria, and the quality of the included studies was assessed. The final data (n = 33) were extracted and synthesized. Seven prominent themes were identified in the literature relating to (a) information about the disease and concerns regarding stroke, (b) the aims of counseling, (c) counseling methods, (d) interaction as a method for counseling, (e) the stroke nurse as a counselor, (f) emotional support, and (g) decision making in patients’ care. The results of the review show that stroke patients’ counseling is a multifaceted phenomenon with distinctive characteristics. The findings of the review can be used to develop counseling for patients with stroke and their families. In addition, the review can be used when educating stroke nurses for stroke units.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Anne Oikarinen, MNSc, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Doctoral Candidate, Finnish Doctoral Programme in Nursing Science, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Maria Kääriäinen, PhD, is a Professor of Nursing Science University of Oulu, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Helvi Kyngäs, PhD, is Professor of Nursing Science, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, and Consultant, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.