Rehabilitation helps people regain as much independence as possible. This is done by:
Recovery begins as soon as the person starts to get better from the immediate effects of a stroke. Some recovery will be spontaneous, for example - where loss of movement or speech may return without any therapy. The most significant recovery will happen within the first few months. Recovery may still happen for many months and even years as other parts of the brain learn to take over from the damaged part.
Stroke is usually managed by a multi-disciplinary team. In this unit we have physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, clinical psychology, nursing and medical input.
The rehabilitation process addresses some or all of the following:
Paralysis or weakness of muscles
Loss of arm / hand function
Associated balance problems
Problems with communication, e.g. talking, understanding what people say, reading and spelling
Problems with thinking, concentration and memory
What can the person with stroke do to help?
Stroke rehabilitation is a long – sometimes slow- process, and it is easy to get discouraged. It is necessary to decide what goals are important to you at this time and to focus on this.
A few tips:
Try to keep positive.
Practise the tasks the therapists give you. Do these when you’re feeling alert and fresh. Don’t practise when you feel tired.
Remember that recovery may be slow and it may be difficult to see any improvement for a while – but persevere with your home-exercise programme.
Talk to others, especially people who have had similar experiences.
Do as much as possible for yourself – even if it takes much longer.
Get sufficient sleep, stay healthy.
Tips for family members:
Be patient! Rehabilitation can be slow and frustrating. There will be days when little progress is noticed or even days you feel the person has disimproved. This is normal and don’t despair. We all have bad days.
Be positive. We all need constant gentle encouragement and praise to keep us motivated and spirits lifted.
Learn the balance between giving the person their independence and only assisting them when necessary.
Keep in touch with your own friends and make time for your own hobbies, activities and interests.