Life After Stroke

LIFE AFTER STROKE

REGAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE

You have survived a stroke, and now you are thinking what’s next? While every stroke is different, some type of disability or physical limitation is common. Setting reasonable, step-by-step goals in these important areas of your life may be a good next step for you:

  • Recovering as much independence and mobility as possible.
  • Staying safe while returning to activity (preventing falls).
  • Living your life as fully and comfortably as possible after your stroke.

Your attitude and effort matter most of all. Most stroke survivors who follow a rehabilitation plan regain significant function. The more you use your body, the better you will get.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery for stroke survivors. The effects of stroke may mean that you must change, relearn or redefine how you live. Stroke rehabilitation helps you return to independent living.

Rehabilitation doesn't reverse the effects of a stroke. Its goals are to build your strength, capability and confidence so you can continue your daily activities despite the effects of your stroke. A rehabilitation program is determined based on what you need to become independent. You may work to improve your independence in many areas, including:

  • Self-care skills such as feeding, grooming, 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
  • Social skills for interacting with other people

Rehabilitation services are provided at:

  • Acute care and rehabilitation hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • At home, with the help of home health agencies
  • Outpatient facilities

You may be involved in rehabilitation in some or all of these settings. It depends on your needs and what type of rehabilitation program will be best for you.


Developing a Rehabilitation Program

Under a doctor's direction, rehabilitation specialists provide a treatment program specifically tailored to your needs. Physicians who specialize in rehabilitation are called physiatrists. The number of services you receive will depend on your needs. Services may include:

  • Rehabilitation nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Audiology
  • Recreational therapy
  • Nutritional care
  • Rehabilitation counseling
  • Social work
  • Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Patient/Family education