TIA and Minor Stroke

Back home after transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

Some people were seen by their GP or were taken to A&E after their TIA or minor stroke, and once their symptoms had subsided and medication (primarily aspirin) had been prescribed were able to go home to recover. Some people were given further appointments to visit a TIA clinic or outpatient department at a later date. A few of these people, particularly where there were no lasting effects, viewed the episode more as a ‘warning’ and spoke in positive terms about getting on with life, putting it behind them and that it was important not to dwell on things.
Some, but not all of the people we interviewed had been admitted into hospital for a few days and in some cases a few weeks. Although it was usually a relief to be back home, it could be difficult to adjust to normal life again, particularly if they were experiencing residual symptoms (see ‘Residual symptoms’). Most people were shocked to have been diagnosed with a TIA or minor stroke and it took a while for them to come to terms with what had happened to them. Because quite often a TIA or minor stroke happens without prior warning, some people were worried that they might have another episode. It could also be difficult to come to terms with the lifestyle adjustments that were recommended by the doctor or consultant (see ‘Lifestyle changes’).
For some people the fear of a repetition of events led to more extreme anxiety. A few people saw their doctor about this and were prescribed anti depressants, or referred for counselling, but not everyone mentioned it to their GP. Brian (Interview 08) said he kept his depression to himself as he didn’t want to be on anti-depressant medication. David (below) said he was sent home from hospital without much information about his condition, and he felt he needed more support afterwards. When Michelle was sent home she was feeling very upset and was still experiencing symptoms but had not yet been given any explanation about what had been wrong.
A few other people, like David, were disappointed with the lack of support afterwards. He described it as like ‘being in the wilderness’. A small minority of people said that they had been let down by ‘administrative errors’ that had left them waiting for a long time without a proper diagnosis, or as in David’s case being sent home without the home care /support team being notified.
Support from family and friends helped people to re-adjust to life at home again. A number of people said they felt it was important to be able to talk to other people about fears and worries, and that family and friends needed to know what was wrong and how they could help.

Some people relied on their partner or spouse to care for them after they returned home. At times this could feel a bit much, and it could be difficult in the early days at home to work out just how much help was needed or wanted.

For some people this was a double edged sword, not wanting to burden someone else, but at the same time finding that it strengthened the bond between them (see also ‘Support and information’ and ’Talking about it’).
A few of the people we interviewed lived alone and said that it was important to keep in touch with friends and family and not to be alone with their worries and anxieties.

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Last reviewed June 2017.
Last updated August 2013


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