Recovering from a stroke

The input of a multidisciplinaryRelating to a group of healthcare professionals with different areas of specialisation. team can make all the difference in helping a person who has had a stroke to get back on track - both in terms of their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, and considerations such as returning to work, coping with depression and reintegrating into the community. As well as assistance from nurses and physicians, other people who can help include physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, dietitians and social workers.[1]

The earlier that rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. is started, the better the improvement; furthermore, more intensive treatment often translates directly into a greater degree of recovery

Many problems with impaired functioning resulting from a stroke can be improved by rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. - for example, simple physiotherapyThe use of physical therapies such as exercise, massage and manipulation. exercises can help to re-educate the nerves and muscles in people affected by weakness down one side of their body; meanwhile, speech and language therapyThe treatment of problems with eating, drinking and speech. can assist those with speech difficulties, while occupational therapists can help with issues of home safety.[2]

Sometimes, a person's functional ability can be improved but not fully recovered. If this is the case, these problems can be overcome in various ways; for example, the person may have to learn to write with the other hand, or have support rails fitted in the bathroom. There are many different measures that can be taken to help with general everyday activities.

The earlier that rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. is started, the better the improvement; furthermore, more intensive treatment often translates directly into a greater degree of recovery.

Rehabilitation may begin in the hospital, but it does not end there. People who have had a stroke can continue to recuperate long after they leave hospital - in fact, function can be recovered for many months or even years afterwards.[3] Home rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. and day hospital care can facilitate this. Other settings for rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. include gyms and hydrotherapyThe use of water in rehabilitation, for example, controlled exercises in swimming pools. pools, for example.[1] Easily accessible community rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. and home care support is also important.[4]

These pages offer further information on many aspects of rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. including:

References: 
  1. Crotty M, Giles LC, Halbert J et al. Home versus day rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health.: a randomised controlled trialA study comparing the outcomes between one or more different treatments for a disease (or in some instances, preventive measures against that disease) and no active treatment at all (the placebo group). Study participants are allocated to the various groups on a random basis. May be abbreviated to RCT.. Age and Ageing 2008; 37: 628-33.
  2. Ostwald SK, Davis S, Hersch G et al. Evidence-based educational guidelines for stroke survivors after discharge home. J Neurosci Nurs 2008; 40: 173-91.
  3. Teasell RW and Kalra L. What's new in stroke rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health.: back to basics. Stroke 2005; 36: 215-7.
  4. Woo J, Chan SY, Sum MWC et al. In patient stroke rehabilitationThe treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. efficiency: influence of organization of service delivery and staff numbers. BMC Health Services Research 2008; 8: 86.