The stroke statistics in the USA are alarming. A stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the country. A person will die from a stroke every three-and-a-half minutes. See here for more stroke statistics.
Every second counts after someone has a stroke. With a high death rate, one in four people having a repeat stroke, and millions left without mobility and independence, quick action is needed for a better outcome. You have a better chance of surviving a stroke if you call 911 and are taken to the hospital by trained ambulance personnel.
Even those patients who are treated promptly may have months or even years of therapy ahead of them. We take a look at what is involved in stroke rehabilitation. The parts of the brain that are affected by a stroke cannot be repaired but new neural pathways can be developed. There are three main forms of therapy after a stroke: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
After a stroke, many patients experience problems with simple mobility. They may have to relearn how to do basic activities like sitting, lying down, and getting up again. Going from one type of movement to another is no longer automatic. Their brains will have to be reprogrammed to walk. Physical therapy deals with these movements.
Occupational therapy assists patients with their daily activities, which also have to be relearnt. It involves training the muscles and plenty of exercises. Patients will have lost a lot of independence such as being able to use the toilet by themselves, brushing their teeth and hair, and even how to drink liquids and swallow (a common problem after a stroke is dysphagia). Additionally, patients cannot bathe or dress themselves, much less cook their own food or make a cup of coffee. The aim of occupational therapy is to regain independence or at least some abilities to take care of oneself.
Some stroke victims are left with speech problems. They may not be able to understand when someone is talking to them. Similarly, they cannot read the written word and cannot form words to speak. For speech therapy to work, the patient must still retain their cognitive abilities and only the speech centers of the brain would have been affected. Over time, these skills are usually learned again.
When a patient is discharged from hospital, they would have had some therapy. However, some patients will need to be moved to a temporary rehabilitation center where they can continue their therapy before being able to go home.
Patient Transportation Services can be arranged, either from hospital to home or to the rehabilitation center. This will include all necessary medical equipment, a wheelchair, and qualified nursing staff.
Some patients never regain their independence. If the family can take care of them, they will return home. Unfortunately, many families do not have the resources to care for the person and cannot afford adequate home care. In these instances, a suitable nursing home with trained staff around the clock will have to be found.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting optimal sleep are some of the ways to prevent a stroke.