What is stroke rehabilitation?
Stroke rehab (rehabilitation) helps you regain as much independence and quality of life as possible. Rehab can help you physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually after stroke. It helps restore you to optimal health, functioning, and well-being.
The stroke rehab team
The stroke rehab team revolves around you and your family. The team helps set short- and long-term treatment goals for recovery. The team is made up of many skilled professionals, including:
Healthcare providers such as:
A neurologist. This is a doctor who treats conditions of the nervous system, such as stroke.
A physiatrist. This is a doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Internists. These are doctors who specialize in internal medicine.
Speech and language pathologists
Psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychiatrists
The stroke rehab program
The outlook for people who’ve had a stroke is more hopeful than ever today. This is due to advances in both stroke treatment and rehab. Stroke rehab works best when you, your family, and the rehab staff work as a team. Family members learn about physical and mental changes caused by the stroke. They also learn how to help you become functional again.
Rehab medicine is designed to meet your specific needs. So each person’s program is different. Treatment in stroke rehab programs may include:
Treating the basic disease and preventing complications
Treating the disability and improving function
Providing adaptive tools and changing the environment
Teaching you and your family, and helping you all to adapt to lifestyle changes
There are 5 main types of disabilities that stroke can cause:
Paralysis or problems controlling movement, such as walking, balance, or swallowing
Problems with your ability to feel touch, pain, temperature, or position. These are also called sensory disturbances.
Trouble using or understanding language
Thinking and memory problems
Stroke rehab can help you recover from the effects of stroke. It can also help you relearn skills and find new ways to do things. Your goals depend on many things, including:
The cause, location, and severity of stroke
The type and degree of any impairments and disabilities from the stroke
Your overall health
Family and community support
Stroke rehab programs may include the following:
Self-care skills, including activities of daily living (ADLs)
Feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting, and sexual functioning
Walking, transfers, and using a wheelchair
Speech, writing, and other methods of communication
Memory, concentration, judgment, problem solving, and organizational skills
Interacting with others at home and in the community
Medicines and alternative methods of managing pain
Identifying problems and solutions with thinking, behavioral, and emotional issues
Assistance with adapting to lifestyle changes, financial concerns, and discharge planning
Patient and family education and training about stroke, medical care, and adaptive methods
Choosing a rehab facility
Rehab services are provided in many different settings, including:
Acute care and rehab hospitals
Long-term care facilities
Outpatient rehab facilities
In the home by home health agencies
When looking for rehab facilities and services, some questions to ask include:
Does my insurance company have a preferred rehab provider that I must use to qualify for payment of services?
What is the cost, and will my insurance company cover all or part of the cost?
How far away is the facility and what is the family visiting policy?
What are the admission criteria?
What are the qualifications of the facility? Is the facility accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ?
Has the facility handled treatment for this type of condition before?
Is therapy scheduled every day? How many hours a day?
What rehab team members are available for treatment?
What type of patient and family education and support is available?
Is there a healthcare provider on site 24 hours a day?
How are emergencies handled?
What type of discharge planning and assistance is available?