No two strokes are alike. The effects of a stroke depend on a number of factors: the type of stroke, the area of the brain that is affected and the severity of the injury to the brain. The timeliness of medical treatment and intervention during or after the stroke can also have a significant impact.
Stroke survivors may experience difficulty with speaking and word finding (aphasia), movement of legs and/or arms on one side of the body (motor activity), understanding speech or written word (comprehension), thinking (cognition), and inability to feel pain or touch (sensory disturbances). Emotional and behavioral issues and problems with vision and memory are also common.
Many, and sometimes all of these problems can get better over time and in some cases may disappear completely. But nearly all stroke survivors need help to recover.
Rehabilitation after a stroke is critical. Decades of research indicates that the majority of recovery achieved by stroke patients is a direct result of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation provides a focused and well-organized approach to helping the brain reorganize itself so that lost function can be restored or relearned to the greatest extent possible.
Because early intervention is key, rehab begins while the patient is still in the hospital and is medically stable. This is usually 24 to 48 hours after the stroke. This early intervention, provided by rehab professionals, is designed to encourage movement to strengthen affected limbs and improve communication. These activities may include sitting up in bed, transferring from bed to wheelchair, standing or even walking. A speech assessment and a swallowing assessment are also performed.
The length of time a patient can remain in the acute care hospital depends on a number of things. These can include the type and severity of the stroke, medical complications that arise, and the extent of the person's disability.
Our dedicated stroke rehabilitation staff recognizes that every person admitted to Sacred Heart comes with a unique set of needs. That's why we don't offer a one-size-fits-all rehabilitation program. Instead, we develop an individualized treatment plan that considers every aspect of the patient's life. We consider his or her medical and physical needs, age, previous lifestyle, work status, family needs, and hopes for the future. We also pay close attention to emotional, social and spiritual issues. When all this is fully understood, the team, along with input from the patient and family, puts together a rehabilitation plan that is best suited to meet the patient's needs.