If you have recently experienced a stroke, it is imperative to understand that the recovery process is a lifelong process. For most, recovery starts with a formal level of rehabilitation – such as physical therapy. You and your family should always know where you are in the journey of recovery and you should learn as much as possible about the type of stroke that you experienced, what it will take to recover, and what to expect along the way. We have created this publication to assist you by providing valuable information and assist you on your road to recovery.

Holding Hands Helping

What is the Goal of Stroke Rehabilitation?

The goal of stroke rehabilitation is to engage in activities that will allow as much independence as possible to be restored by improving physical and mental functions as well as emotional functions. This is done through therapy that preserves the dignity of the patient and in a way that motivates the patient to relearn basic skills that have been impacted – such as dressing, walking, and even eating.

The rehabilitation should start in the hospital and as quickly as possible after the stroke has occurred. It may occur as soon as the day after the stroke and may be continued after the patient is released from the hospital. Many patients may have many months or years of therapy. It could continue as a stroke patient improves or there are some cases where the patient will continue to get worse and the therapy will be continued.

The rehabilitation options available will be dependent upon many factors such as the patient’s ability to tolerate the intensity of the rehabilitation, the level of disability that has been experienced, funding available for therapy, whether or not there is insurance and the amount of coverage that insurance provides, the area that the patient is in, and their motivation to engage in therapy.

What Are the Main Options for Rehabilitation?

The following outlines the main options that are available to those that have had a stroke and require rehabilitation:

  1. Acute Care – This is a type of inpatient care that is usually done at a hospital or in a special rehabilitation section of a hospital. It provides 24-hour medical care and a full range of therapy services; the therapy is done several hours each day and it is very demanding. This is the right solution for those that have numerous medical problems and are likely to develop more problems without continued medical-based treatment.
  2. Sub-Acute Care – This is usually done in a rehab center, a rehab unit within a hospital, or a skilled nursing facility that offers short-term nursing care or a long-term skilled nursing unit. This is less demanding than acute programs but lasts longer than those programs. The services offered are daily nursing care and a wide range of rehabilitation services. This is ideal for survivors that have serious disabilities but are unable to handle the demands that are associated with acute care programs offered within a hospital.
  3. Long-Term Care – This is perfect for those that have medical problems that are under control, but need 24-hour nursing care. The sessions occur 2-3 days each weekend is usually offered in a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility. There is one or more treatment areas offered in these facilities.
  4. Outpatient Facilities – These offer one or more treatment areas 2-3 days each week. This is ideal for stroke survivors who have medical problems under control enough to live in their own home and are capable of traveling to get treatment. In most instances, this therapy is offered at a doctor’s office, an outpatient center of a hospital, some adult day care centers, and other types of outpatient centers.
  5. Home Health Agencies – These offer specific types of rehabs in one or more treatment areas as needed and within the home. This is ideal for stroke survivors that live at home but are unable to travel to get the treatment that they need.

Who is on the Rehabilitation Health Cre Team?

During all of the phases of your stroke recovery and rehabilitation, you will work with a team of professionals that are from various specialties. You should know your team so that you are familiar with their role and are comfortable addressing any type of issue with them. The services that you receive during stroke rehabilitation may include one or more of the following:

  1. Physical Therapist – This type of specialist aids in the restoration of skills related to physical functioning and other skills such as walking, and the range of motions. Common issues addressed by this type of specialist includes partial and one-sided paralysis, balance issues, and foot drop.
  2. Occupational Therapist – This type of professional aids in helping stroke survivors relearn the skills needed to handle everyday life such as going to the restroom, dressing, showering, and eating.
  3. Speech Therapist – When you have a stroke, you may start to suffer from issues with swallowing, thinking, and communicating. A speech therapist will help with these issues. There are two main conditions – dysarthria and aphasia – that result in the development of speech problems who those who have had a stroke. One causes issues with pronouncing speech sounds because of issues with the corresponding muscles. The other allows a person to think clearly but they are not able to process language enough to talk to or to understand other people. A speech therapist helps the survivor and their family with methods for these common communication challenges.
  4. Physiatrist – This specialist focuses on rehabilitation services after an illness, accident, or injury.
  5. Neurologist – This specialist focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke and other issues that impact the brain and the spinal cord.
  6. Rehabilitation Nurse – This type of nurse helps people who have disabilities by helping survivors successfully manage their health problems that affected the stroke. Examples include high blood pressure, diabetes, and they help the patient adjust to life after having a stroke.
  7. Dietician – This specialist teaches stroke survivors about eating healthy and special diets such as low salt, low sugar, and low calorie.
  8. Neuropsychologist – Diagnoses and treatments survivors who are experiencing issues with thinking, memory, and behavior following a stroke.
  9. Social Worker – This person helps a stroke survivor about rehab programs, living arrangements, insurance, and support services.
  10. Case Manager – Helps in following up to acute care, coordinate care for multiple providers, and local services.
  11. Recreation Therapist – This specialist helps stroke survivors learn strategies to improve the thinking and the movement skills that are needed to join in recreational activities.

Health Insurance is a Necessity

It is a known fact that stroke rehabilitation is extremely expensive. You should know what part of your treatment will require you to pay out of pocket. Recovery from a stroke may require extensive levels of rehabilitation. You may require services in different settings that vary in costs. If you worked prior to the stroke, you should apply for disability benefits afterwards. You may get private disability from an employer and government disability from the Social Security Administration. Applying may take a while, you should keep copies of all letters they send you and all paperwork that you send them. You should also make notes of the people that you talk to, what you talked about, and when you talked to them. If you are – ultimately – denied, you should find out about the appeal process and challenge the denial. You can learn more about disability by calling 800-772-1213 or visiting www.ssa.gov.

Modifying Your Home

Once you are able to return home, it may be necessary to make modifications so that you are able to live independently and safely. You should make adjustments to the following:

  • Narrow doorways
  • Narrow stairs
  • Stairs that do not offer stability features
  • Bathtubs – transition to walk-in showers
  • Add ramps
  • Add Grab bars where needed
  • Remove throw rugs
  • Utilize assistive devices such as raised toilet seat or a grab bar toilet seat system
  • Use a shower chair
  • Ask your doctor if they recommend a walking device or any other assistive devices

How We Can Help

We here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy help stroke survivors successfully transition back into their daily lives. We offer a multitude of services such as dry needling, vestibular therapy, balance training, custom orthotics and the anti-gravity treadmill. We treat many conditions that occur as a result of a stroke. These include various types of pain throughout the body, and new onset disability – such as paralysis. If you want to get back to normal as quickly as possible, we encourage you to contact us today. We can create a custom care plan based on your individual needs to aid in your stroke recovery. You no longer need a referral in Colorado for physical therapy, you just have to set up an appointment. We do our best to work around your needs. You may reach one of our stroke recovery specialists today by calling the following number: 303-832-5577

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