This paper aimed to investigate the perception of family caregivers of patients with cerebrovascular accident (CVA) about physical and psycho-social repercussions of this activity. It is a qualitative study with ten family caregivers of adult patients with CVA undergoing physical therapy at Instituto Bahiano de Reabilitação, Salvador, Brazil. The data collect used a semi-structured questionnaire applied in June and July 2006. Interviews were recorded and then transcript and analyzed. Four categories were defined for content analysis of speeches: "What do they feel?", with sub-categories emotional burden and positive feelings; "Repercussion on physical health"; "Financial changes"; "Social life and Familiar relationships". Most caregivers of this study were female, married, with average age of 54 years. There were reports of social isolation and negative feelings, like nervousness and pity, but also positive feelings, as personal development and approximation to the relative. Among the physical changes, pain on back and arms and sleep alterations were highlighted. The financial situation of the families was, in its majority, modified by shortening of the familiar income and increased expenses, and familiar relations were influenced by the removal of the members and increased conflicts. Considering all these implications in the lives of these people and the physical and emotional burden that it can cause, there is a clear necessity of interventions directed to family caregivers.
cerebrovascular accident; family caregiver; home nursing