What is stroke rehabilitation?
When the immediate crisis of a stroke has passed and you’ve been stabilized medically, it’s time to consider rehabilitation therapy. The effects of stroke may mean that you must change or relearn how you live day to day. Rehabilitation may reverse some of these effects.
Who will be a part of my rehabilitation program?
Your rehabilitation team may include:
- Physiatrist — A medical doctor who specializes in rehabilitation.
- Physical Therapist — A healthcare provider who specializes in maximizing a stroke survivor’s mobility and independence to improve major motor and sensory impairments, such as walking, balance and coordination.
- Occupational Therapist — A therapist who focuses on helping stroke survivors rebuild skills in daily living activities such as bathing, toileting and dressing.
- Rehabilitation Nurse — A nurse who coordinates the medical support needs of stroke survivors throughout rehabilitation.
- Speech Therapist — A specialist who helps to restore language skills and also treats swallowing disorders.
- Recreational Therapist — A therapist who helps to modify activities that the survivor enjoyed before the stroke or introduces new ones.
- Psychiatrist or Psychologist — Specialists who help stroke survivors adjust to the emotional challenges and new circumstances of their lives.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor — A specialist who evaluates work-related abilities of people with disabilities. They can help stroke survivors make the most of their skills to return to work.
What will I do in rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation programs often focus on:
- Activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing.
- Mobility skills such as transferring, walking or self-propelling a wheelchair.
- Communication skills in speech and language.
- Cognitive skills such as memory or problem solving.
- Socialization skills in interacting with other people.
- Psychological functioning to improve coping skills and treatment to overcome depression if needed.
What are the warning signs of stroke?
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headaches with no known cause
Learn to recognize a stroke, because time lost is brain lost.
Today there are treatments that can reduce the risk of damage from the most common type of stroke, but only if you get help quickly - within 3 hours of your first symptoms.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience these warning signs!
Content courtesy of: American Heart Association