Stroke Rehabilitation and Prevention

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December 24, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Stroke Rehabilitation and Prevention

Depending on the severity of a stroke, activities of daily living or ADLs can be significantly impacted, potentially rendering a person incapable of living the life to which they are accustomed. Activities of daily living or ADLs include eating, dressing, bathing, necessary hygiene skills, walking, and transferring from a sitting to standing position. Complications of a stroke include, and are not limited to, loss or impairment of ADLs, paralysis, diminished movement, speech difficulty, memory loss, emotional alterations, pain, and changes in behavior. All of these and more can be considerably altered due to a stroke, and it is essential to gain these activities back as best as one possibly can.  

Stroke Damage

In some circumstances, strokes can result in severe deficits that leave a person paralyzed or worse, so it is not reasonable to try to resume normal ADLs in this scenario. The amount of dead brain tissue resulting from the stroke will determine the extent of the injury. However, if a doctor seems to believe that you can gain back what was lost to a stroke, there is physical, occupational, and speech therapy that can be utilized to achieve your goal. When assessing stroke damage before treatment, if a person has right-sided body impairment, the stroke affected the left side of the brain. If a doctor assesses left-sided body impairment, the stroke affected the right side of the brain. Also, a stroke to the left side of the brain can cause speech and language impairment. 

Rehabilitation

When starting rehabilitation, a thorough assessment will take place to determine the best therapies to accomplish optimal results. This includes targeted treatments depending on the side of the brain that was affected. Therapies will begin in the hospital before discharge, but they will continue outpatient. Some patients are unable to return home right away and will instead go to an inpatient rehabilitation center. After therapy at a rehabilitation facility, some people can return home, but others will need long-term care. Regardless if a person can return to independent living or not, counseling should be a part of treatment to ensure that the patient is coping appropriately. Most likely, after a stroke, your quality of life has been somewhat altered. It is essential not to neglect mental health during this time of major change. 

Prevention

Certain lifestyle modifications need to be made to prevent another stroke from occurring. For instance, blood pressure and cholesterol need to be well controlled, in addition to diabetes. Losing weight, smoking cessation, refraining from alcohol, and regularly exercising are all vital to reduce reoccurrence. Anti-platelet drugs and anticoagulants will also most likely be prescribed after a stroke. These will help thin the blood and make the blood less likely to clot. However, the majority of anticoagulants must be monitored regularly for the best results, so it is essential to be vigilant in following the doctor's orders.  

Life after a stroke can be scary, but with the proper support and rehabilitation, there is hope that you can find your "new normal." Connect with Shifa4U to discuss rehabilitation options for you or a loved one.

Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.

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