Stroke affects a large part of the aging population, with over seven million survivors in the US. Each year, close to 800,000 people will have a stroke. Stroke rehab is crucial for patients so they have as good outcomes as possible.
What is stroke rehab?
Stroke victims may lose partial control over their bodies, and many of their functions may become impaired. The goal of stroke rehab is to help the victim recover skills. A stroke may have weakened or damaged their functions.
When a stroke occurs, the immediate task of the physicians and hospital staff is to stabilize the patient and prevent damage. Once the patient is stabilized, the hospital may begin to administer rehab. Because they want to get the patient immediately on the road to recovery, they may start as soon as twenty-four hours later. This helps prevent further impairment. However, as soon as the patient is strong enough and is out of danger, they may move him to a rehab facility.
Rehab facilities are equipped to help stroke victims regain skills. Even patients who have minimal damage generally need to spend some time in a rehab setting after leaving the hospital to make sure that their functioning is normal. In this case, the duration of the stay may be short. In cases where damage is more profound, the patient may need several months in a facility. After that, he may be transferred to a home setting and continue receiving care on an outpatient basis.
How is it done?
A multi-disciplinary effort is necessary to help the patient achieve the greatest success. Each patient has different needs, and the rehab center will customize an individual plan to meet them. These are some of the activities that the plan will comprise:
- Forced-use therapy – stroke victims often lose capabilities on one side of their bodies and need to re-learn skills on that side. In this type of therapy, they retain the “good” side so that the patient is forced to use the damaged side.
- Motor skills exercises – a therapist works with the patient to enhance motor skills and increase coordination.
- Electrical stimulation – a trained therapist will apply electricity to impaired muscles to stimulate them.
- Mobility instruction – the patient often needs to use devices to assist with walking or other daily functions. These may be long or short term. He may need to learn how to use a can or a walker, or he might need to wear an ankle brace, which supports his legs as he learns how to walk again.
A team of doctors, therapists and rehab staff will work together to determine the right mix for the patient. To make this happen, any or all of these therapists might be enlisted to take part in the recovery process:
- Speech therapist – The patient may have language and communications issues. The speech therapists addresses these, as well as potentially the ability to swallow.
- Physical therapist – She can aid in re-training to walk and keep your balance.
- Occupational therapist – He can help you learn daily activities, and learning arm and hand movements to get them done properly.
What else can I expect?
- A social worker might can counsel the patient and his family as to how to set up the home for new arrangements. He can also help out with new financial planning.
- A psychologist can help with the emotional aspects of losing functions and planning for a new reality.
- A vocational counselor can offer guidance as to how to get back into the workforce with impaired skills or a disability.
This is in addition to the doctors and rehab nurses on staff who are trained to offer the best care for stroke victims.
At Sinai Post acute Center, we provide premium services and stroke rehab for stroke victims. Our physicians, nurses, therapists, and staff members are experienced in stroke rehab. We make sure that each patient gets the care he needs to recuperate and recover his functioning.