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Recovering from a Stroke with Short-Term Rehab

Recovering from a Stroke with Short-Term Rehab

According to the American Heart Association, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. With May being National Stroke Awareness Month, it’s important to remember that when it comes to a stroke, every single second counts – nearly two million brain cells die each minute that a stroke remains untreated.

Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and seeking medical assistance immediately is the best way to prevent serious disability or death and increase the chances of a full recovery. Getting the best rehabilitation treatment after a stroke will also greatly increase the chances of regaining any mobility, speech, and strength lost after having a stroke.

How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Stroke

Quick action is crucial if you suspect you or a loved one is having a stroke. Call 911 right away if any of the following symptoms are present.

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes
  • Problems with walking, balance, and coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache that comes on seemingly for no reason

Seeking Treatment After a Stroke

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, short-term rehab offers many effective types of inpatient and outpatient treatment to recover from its effects. “Stroke rehabilitation is truly a multidisciplinary team endeavor!” said Erica LaGruth, Program Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Christian Health’s Bolger Short-Term Rehab. “All aspects of our therapy team are involved in the care of our clients after a stroke.”

The following types of rehab care are offered at Bolger Short-Term Rehab for those recovering from a stroke.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is effectively used to help patients improve and recover things like balance, strength, and range of motion. “Physical therapists focus on regaining clients’ mobility and standing strength by assessing their muscle weakness and muscle tone, as well as any need for supportive braces to assist with walking,” said Ms. LaGruth. “They work on negotiating obstacles in the environment and standing dynamic balance tasks.”

Occupational Therapy

Occupation therapy focuses on improving patients’ upper body strength, coordination, and conditioning needed to perform daily tasks. “Occupational therapists assess a client’s ability to bathe and dress themselves, feed themselves, and manage self-care,” said Ms. LaGruth. “For some clients, after a stroke, adaptive dressing equipment or arm or hand splints are necessary. Home-management skills, spatial awareness and observation, and energy conservation and activity modifications are all included in occupational therapy treatment after a stroke.”

Speech Therapy

Speech therapists address an even wider array of possible post-stroke symptoms, such as impaired cognition, communication, speech, and the ability to safely swallow food and liquid. Because strokes affect the brain, the way a person communicates can be significantly affected – both in understanding language and formulating it. “Speech therapists help to reinforce and recover verbal communication or teach a patient how to use an alternate form of communication via a picture board or touchscreen communication device,” said Ms. LaGruth. If the muscles in the face, neck, or throat are affected after a stroke, speech therapists help their clients strengthen these muscles and learn effective techniques to eat and drink safely and decrease choking risks.

“If a patient has cognitive changes after a stroke, such as a loss of short-term memory, difficulty processing information, or issues in problem solving, speech therapists will work on recovering those skills or teach compensation strategies to allow patients to regain as much independence as possible,” said Ms. LaGruth.

For more information about available rehabilitation services at Christian Health, please call (201) 848-5855 for inpatient rehab or (201) 848-5518 for outpatient rehab.