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What you need to know about stroke rehabilitation

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Stroke rehabilitation is a lengthy process that requires specialist medical expertise. But, with the right support in place, your loved one can still carry out many of the day-to-day activities that make them who they are, and reduce the chances of a stroke occurring again in future.

As a standard care procedure, the NHS call rehabilitation what can be achieved within 6-12 weeks. Sadly, if you cannot fully rehabilitate within that timeframe they tend to believe that you do not have the potential to get better. However, many people find that when given enough time and the appropriate level of support, those who suffered a stroke can continue to make improvements and, in some cases, can regain independence after that six-week period ends.

The Good Care Group can provide this level of specialist support within the home, and help your loved one recover both physically and psychologically from a stroke.

How can a stroke affect a person?

Strokes affect people in different ways due to a number of variables, so there’s no way to predict exactly how your loved one might be affected.

Two of the most immediate concerns following a stroke are a repeat episode (one third of people who have had a stroke will have a recurrence within two years) and post-stroke depression (caused by biochemical changes within the brain).

These are some of the other typical symptoms that a person might encounter after having a stroke:

  • Difficulty communicating
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Swallowing problems
  • Bodily pain and headaches
  • Decreased vision
  • Continence problems
  • Difficulty with movement and balance
  • Problems with memory and cognition
  • Changes to sense of taste and smell
  • Behavioural and emotional changes

What’s involved in stroke rehabilitation?

If your loved one has a minor stroke, then they may recover relatively quickly. However, in most cases, stroke rehabilitation is a long term process.

As most strokes are caused by a blood clot, doctors might well prescribe blood thinning medication (anticoagulant or antiplatelet) in order to reduce the risk of another stroke occurring in future. Medication for reducing blood pressure or cholesterol, treating a heart condition or managing diabetes are also common post-stroke prescriptions.

Physiotherapy and assisted exercise will start in hospital as soon as your loved one’s condition has stabilised. Speech and language therapy and occupational therapy are also offered if required. Psychological support may also be offered to help people come to terms with the changes to their health and independence. Depending on the severity of the stroke, your friend or relative may be sent to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for intensive treatment, or discharged with a rehabilitation plan to be carried out at home.

The most significant gains will take place within the first three months of stroke recovery, with formal rehabilitation usually lasting three to six months. However, your loved one will continue to benefit from practicing these exercises long after formal rehabilitation has concluded.

How can the process be supported by live-in care?

A targeted and comprehensive live-in care plan that uses carers who specialise in stroke recovery can enhance rehabilitative activities and overall quality of life.

At The Good Care Group, our specialist stroke carers will help your friend or relative regain independence by focusing on:

  • Strength
  • Muscle tone
  • Speech
  • Mobility

The care team will manage your loved one’s medication in line with doctors’ recommendations and liaise with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dieticians and other healthcare professionals on their behalf.

The carers will also support your loved one in carrying out domestic activities, and ensure that they’re able to continue enjoying an active social life. This holistic approach to care will help to optimise the recovery process, and enable your loved one to keep enjoying many of the activities that they’re passionate about.

To make sure our methods are in line with the latest recommendations, we work with The Stroke Association, a leading charity in the field of stroke care, to deliver a comprehensive Stroke training programme.

If you would like to learn more about how our specialist stroke care services could help support your loved one throughout their recovery process, contact our friendly team.

Later Life Planning (LLP) event at Edes House, Chichester on 19th October 2016 Managing medication: a quick guide
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