The aim of this essay is to discuss Mary, a 75 year old retired teacher with a history of obesity and hypertension, who one month previously, suffered an Ischaemic stroke. In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2011) confidentiality guidelines, the identity of the service user has been kept anonymous by using the pseudonym ‘Mary’. In relation to Mary, the author will discuss the risk and resilience factors associated with stroke, the vulnerability impact of the disease, and the appropriate level of care which makes a difference to recovery.
The World Health Organisation (2013) explains that an Ischaemic stroke occurs as a result of a blood vessel becoming blocked by a clot, reducing the supply of oxygen to the brain and, therefore, damaging tissue. The rationale for selecting Mary for this discussion is; the author wishes to expand her evidenced based knowledge of stroke since it is the principal cause of disability and the third leading cause of mortality within the Scottish population (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), 2008) and, therefore, a national priority. In response to this priority, the Scottish Government (2009) produced their ‘Better Heart Disease and Stroke Care Action Plan’. Additionally, they have introduced a HEAT target to ensure 90% of stroke patients get transferred to a specialised stroke unit on the day of admission to hospital (Scottish Government, 2012).
Vulnerability, Risk and Resilience
Lloyd and Heller (2012) discuss how vulnerability relates to people, who for a period, may need help from health and social care services because they are unable to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mary’s post stroke symptoms include right sided limb weakness, a deficit in her right visual field and aphasia, all common side effects of a stroke affecting the left side of the brain (Migliozzi, 2012). According to Lloyd and Heller (2012), Mary can, therefore, be considered vulnerable; since, she requires assistance with her daily activities of living (Roper, Logan and Tierney, 2000) to maintain her safety and wellbeing and aid her extensive period of physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation. However, Abley, Bond and Robinson (2011) proclaim, older adults perceive their own vulnerability different from the healthcare perspective; older adults, such as Mary, view vulnerability in relation to their feelings, rather than their external assessed state. Therefore, it is imperative to consider these views when caring for vulnerable adults (Abley, 2012).
In health terms, risk relates to the factors that contribute to a person becoming vulnerable to a long term health condition (Clarke, 2010). Age is a non-modifiable risk factor contributing to Mary’s stroke; this is because the cumulative effects of aging result in loss of flexibility in the blood vessels (De Guzman et al., 2012). Additionally, Mary suffered from hypertension, the most significant modifiable risk...