Stroke Recovery: What’s Next?
Having a stroke can be a terrifying experience, but the recovery that follows can be daunting too. Whether you or a loved one has had a recent stroke, post-stroke care and rehabilitation are a critical part of recovery.
Depending on the type and severity of the stroke, patients can experience a variety of different after effects, including problems with movement, communications, and cognitive abilities. Working with a team of different specialists may help with rehabilitation, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, and specialist nurses and doctors. Of course, stroke patients are encouraged to be active participants in the rehabilitation process and work with their care team to set goals during recovery.
Here are the most common challenges resulting from a stroke:
Strokes can cause weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, which can impact coordination and balance. Many people also experience extreme fatigue in the first few weeks after a stroke, and resulting insomnia may make that fatigue even worse. Patients may also have problems with specific movements and activities, including bathing, dressing, and getting around at home.
After having a stroke, many people experience problems with speaking and understanding, as well as reading and writing. When parts of the brain responsible for language are damaged, this is called aphasia or dysphasia. Weakness in the muscles involved in speech as a result of brain damage is known as dysarthria.
Cognitive is a term that refers to the many processes and functions our brain uses to process information. Cognitive functions that can be disrupted by a stroke include communication,
spatial awareness (having a natural awareness of where your body is in relation to immediate environment), memory, concentration and executive function (the ability to plan, solve problems and reason about situations). Another possible outcome impacts praxis, or the ability to carry out skilled physical activities, such as getting dressed or making a cup of coffee.
Finding a place to begin again
Given the potential impact of stroke effects on quality of life, it is critically important to take advantage of the most comprehensive rehabilitation services available. Finding a single location that offers live-in accommodations with access to those services is a critical next step.
The three skilled nursing facilities in Alabama operated by American Health Corporation provide specialized stroke rehabilitation services, including short-term care, long-term care, and outpatient services. Each rehabilitation team is committed to creating individualized therapy programs that directly answer specific needs and are designed to help each resident achieve maximum potential of independence and ability.
The goal of physical therapy is to achieve each resident’s highest functional level of independence, with treatment focused on identifying and rehabilitating physical impairment and pain, as well as preventing future injury. After a comprehensive evaluation, experienced physical therapists develop an individualized treatment program designed to Increase strength and mobility in the body and lower extremities. They will also work toward increased motor control, improved coordination and balance, and improved range of motion and endurance. Other areas of focus may include pain management, proper body mechanics to prevent injury, and safety awareness.
Professional occupational therapists at American Health Corporation use task-directed activities to improve functional abilities, with an eye toward returning to daily activities and independence. This type of therapy helps residents adapt to social and physical environments by mastering tasks essential for daily living, including bathing, dressing and eating. Depending on abilities, occupational therapy may also include a return to homemaking and cooking.
Because the purpose of occupational therapy is a return to daily life, occupational therapists will also provide guidance in home assessments and recommend modifications or adaptive equipment needed upon returning home.
Speech therapists provide a range of interventions to assess and help with communication, swallowing, and cognition. Their efforts are focused on improving speech and voice clarity, increasing comprehension and verbal expression, and iImproving chewing and swallowing ability. They will also work with patients to maximize cognitive language skills including memory, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning.
American Health Corporation
American Health Corporation is dedicated to providing quality health care, rehabilitation, and support services to residents and their families. We understand that each resident is a unique individual with family and friends, and our goal is to coordinate these ties as part of an individualized care plan to achieve patient goals.
Contact the nursing home in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:
Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383
Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054
Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696