Several decades of scientific research now show that stroke rehabilitation is critical for optimal stroke recovery. The benefits come from helping the brain to reorganize itself with physical therapy, which in turn helps the stroke survivor to recover functions lost after brain injury. Below you will find important information about the process of physical therapy and rehabilitation, and about its potential to help you regain your life after stroke.
What is stroke rehabilitation?Stroke rehabilitation is the process by which a stroke survivor works with a team of health care providers with the aim of regaining as much of the function lost after a stroke as possible. By joining a comprehensive rehabilitation program immediately after leaving the hospital, stroke survivors can maximize their chances of recovery, and in most cases they can regain a substantial portion of the functions they lost as a result of their stroke.
Some of the different types of medical professionals who participate in the care of stroke patients during the rehabilitation process include:
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians (Physiatrists)
- Physical Therapists
- Speech Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
Why is stroke rehabilitation important?The importance of rehabilitation after stroke cannot be overemphasized. Studies have shown that rehabilitation is responsible for most of the recovery experienced by patients after a stroke, and that without it, little or no improvement can be accomplished. Stroke rehabilitation provides a targeted and organized plan to re-learn functions lost in the shortest period of time possible.
How long does stroke rehabilitation last?The duration of your rehabilitation needs will depend on the type of stroke you suffered. On the average, immediately after leaving the hospital, people stay inside rehabilitation facilities for a total of 16 days. This brief period of in-house therapy is followed by further rehabilitation in an outside facility for the following several weeks.
Although most of your improvement will take place within this time, your brain can continue to learn and re-learn new and old tasks for as long as you live. This is why it is so important to continue with your own rehabilitation at home after you have completed your visits to the rehabilitation center. A successful outcome will require dedication, perseverance, and a great attitude. In fact, some studies suggest that successful and meaningful recovery is more likely to be accomplished if you are dedicated and keep a high level of motivation during your rehabilitation process.
Urinary Incontinence Basics Inability to control when urine is often a symptom of stroke. Learn about this condition and what can be done to treat it
Aphasia Rehabilitation: Strokes often affect the language areas of the brain leaving stroke survivors with difficulties in communication. Intense rehabilitation can help improve this condition. Learn about stroke-induced language dysfunction treatments here.
About dysphagia, and its Rehabilitation One of the impairments left behind by strokes is the inability to swallow.
Sources: Maclean N, Pound P, Wolfe C, Rudd A. British Medical Journal 2000 Oct 28;321(7268):1051-4 Qualitative analysis of stroke patients' motivation for rehabilitation
Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR; Pam M. Smith, DNS, RN; Sandra B. Illig, MS, RN; Richard T. Linn, PhD; Glenn V. Ostir, PhD; Carl V. Granger, MD Journal of the American Medical Association 2004;292:1687-1695 Trends in Length of Stay, Living Setting, Functional Outcome, and Mortality Following Medical Rehabilitation