According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke each year. About a quarter of these people have already had one or more strokes.
If you have lived through a stroke in the past, you already know that the process of recovery can be long and complicated. While there are no guarantees in stroke recovery, participating in a strong stroke rehab program can help survivors with every aspect of the healing process.
To be effective, stroke rehab should begin early
Strokes affect every individual differently. While it is possible for people to experience a short recovery time after a stroke, most require rehabilitation. The duration of stroke rehab needed varies widely, depending on the severity of the stroke and how well a person responds to the rehab program.
Most doctors will start stroke rehab in the hospital within a few days of your stroke — usually as soon as your health is stable enough to begin. This initial stroke rehab is critical, but it’s only the first step on the road to recovery.
Before you are released from the hospital, you should seek out a stroke rehab program. It’s important to plan a move into a rehab community directly after your stay at the hospital, as you can use Medicare to pay for rehab only your rehab program immediately follows your time at the hospital.
The team at the rehab community will talk to your doctor to fully understand your symptoms, progress and rehabilitation needs. At a short-term rehab community, all your stroke rehab needs will be met on-site, so you can focus on recovery.
Stroke rehab draws on multiple types of therapy
While a recovery plan is tailored to each person’s needs, stroke rehab generally includes aspects of speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy (therapy to help you perform the tasks you need in everyday life). Because recovering from a stroke can be an emotional process, your recovery plan may also include counseling to help you feel as better.
According to the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.), the impact of a stroke depends on where in the brain it occurs, and symptoms may include movement problems, pain, difficulties using or understanding language, memory problems and emotional challenges. Each type of therapy addresses a specific way that your stroke may have impacted your life.
Physical therapy helps you regain motor skills and sensory abilities that have been impacted by the stroke. Therapists will often combine exercises with techniques like massage to strengthen impacted muscles. Physical therapy can also address any pain you have post-stroke.
Speech therapy is important because a stroke may impact the muscles involved in speech and the language-processing center of the brain. A speech therapist can help you regain your speech and improve communication after a stroke, and address your specific needs.
Occupational therapy is like physical therapy in that it deals mainly with movement and the senses, but it focuses more specifically on helping you return to specific tasks. If, during rehabilitation, certain abilities do not return, an occupational therapist can help you learn how to complete daily tasks and do the things you love even while living with your physical limitations.
Counseling gives you a chance to talk to a therapist about your experiences after a stroke. Because recovering from a stroke can be mentally and emotionally taxing, many stroke survivors value the chance to discuss their feelings with a professional.
Recovery after a stroke is a long process that usually requires the help of all of these therapists, but it is possible for many stroke survivors to regain significant or even all abilities. Ultimately, rehabilitation helps you maximize your chances of recovering better. If you have questions about short-term rehabilitation at our Wesley Place community, read our FAQs or send us a message for more information.