Approximately 800,000 people in the US have a stroke each year. It is the leading cause of disability. The great news is there is potential to make noticeable improvement with the right medical care and persistence.
Common deficits post stroke:
• Weakness on one side of the body
• Bowel and bladder issues
• Trouble speaking
• Impaired balance
• Decreased cognition
• Decreased sensation on one side of the body
• Impaired vision
• Decreased muscle strength and coordination
Many stroke survivors struggle to live regular lives because simple tasks and movements become challenging. The goals of stroke rehabilitation are to help the stroke survivor live as independently as possible while adjusting to new limitations. This is often addressed by many via the use of therapy services and psychological counseling.
- OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY: OT can help you relearn the skills you need for everyday living such as dressing, bathing, toileting, and grooming. OT can work on trying to help you regain arm function to be able to pick up objects or use your toothbrush. These therapists can improve safety in your home for example, by suggesting grab bars be installed in the shower to make it easier to navigate getting in and out.
- PHYSICAL THERAPY: PT can help work on balance to help you be able to move from a bed to a chair safely. These therapists can provide exercises to help improve strength, balance, and coordination to be able to go from lying down to sitting up.
- SPEECH THERAPY: ST will work on helping relearn language and speaking skills. These therapists can help a stroke patient relearn how to make sounds and form words during speech. Speech therapists can help address swallowing problems due to weakness and poor coordination in the muscles in the mouth and throat.
- PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING: Strokes can cause chemical changes in the brain. It can affect one’s behaviors and emotions. A stroke survivor may be more irritable, confused, anxious, and depressed. Many stroke survivors can benefit from mental health counseling and medication to treat mental health issues.
Aggressive therapy, immediately following a stroke can advance and improve your odds for greater recovery. However, there may be room for improvement later in your recovery via continued outpatient therapy services.