Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke – a major health issue that keeps taking on more and more lives, and leaving those that have been spared from death seriously impaired requires what is referred to as the stroke rehabilitation process. Here, we will review and answer some of the biggest questions linked to stroke and programs for rehabilitation and focus on why a proper stroke rehabilitation process can make a big difference in the quality of life of those that have been affected by it.

Table of Contents

Types of stroke

Stroke is the term that is used to refer to the fifth leading cause of death around the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, nearly 140,000 Americans died by a stroke. Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke, with at least one person dying of stroke every 4 minutes.

There are three different types of stroke, depending on the cause that has led to it – transient ischemic attack (TIA), ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke, with these three, further breaking down into more specific types. It is because of a blockage in the arteries that an ischemic stroke happens, whereas the cause for a hemorrhagic one is a blood vessel rupturing and bleeding.

Certain individuals struggle with a higher risk of stroke as compared to the general population. The list of common risk factors includes having an unhealthy diet, being a smoker, having a sedentary lifestyle, struggling with other health issues, having a medical and/or family history of stroke, etc. By eliminating these risk factors, you are efficiently reducing your risk of a stroke happening.

Complications of stroke

All strokes cause damage to the brain cells and tissues due to the lack of oxygen. These events lead to mild to more serious consequences, depending on various factors such as age, cause, overall health status, etc. The consequences, no matter how big or small, can seriously decrease the patient’s quality of life.

What types of disabilities could be expected to occur depends on which brain part/s have been affected by the stroke itself. One or more brain areas can be affected, causing different complications, such as:

  • Speech and language issues
  • Loss of mobility
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Vision issues
  • A decline in self-care abilities and active lifestyle
  • Issues related to sexual ability
  • Bowel and bladder control issues
  • Cognitive issues – a decline in problem-solving skills

Why is rehabilitation important?

Once a stroke happens, all stroke survivors are admitted into a post-stroke rehabilitation process. The length of the stroke recovery process depends on various factors such as age, sex, medical history, complications, and consequences that have happened due to stroke, etc. Those who have suffered mild consequences may require only acute care, whereas others may even require long-term care, many of them requiring this type of care throughout their lifetime.

This process includes a rehabilitation team that consists of different medical professionals – from nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, to social workers, all of which are meant to help with any of the issues that are causing a decline in the health-related quality of life. Family members of the patient also have a meaningful role in the post-stroke rehabilitation process even in a long-term care facility.

These professionals specialize in finding a solution to being the problem-solvers as they are. They use all of their knowledge and previous experience working with other patients in the past to create a program that is individual for each patient. This program includes defining the problem in terms of consequences and complications that the patient is experiencing and helping the patient to relearn the skills that have been either decreased or completely lost due to stroke.

Without a proper rehabilitation process, no stroke survivor can continue living a quality life because of the complex problems that he/she will face on a day-to-day basis. The whole process begins in acute care 24 to 48 hours after the stroke. It later continuous in a skilled nursing facility, and when needed, it can also include residential care in the patient’s own home or nursing home care where the patient is living.

What does the rehabilitation process after stroke include?

This recovery process requires specialized clinical rehabilitation teams including consultant physicians, GPs, PMR consultants, skilled nursing, and social workers in addition to attention, patience, and hard work. According to the National Stroke Association, up to 10% of the stroke survivors make an almost-complete recovery, with 25% of the survivors living with only mild consequences. Another 10% require further care in nursing homes. So, what does the rehabilitation process for the stroke survivors include?

  • Medications
Different medications are used to treat the existing stroke and the damage that it has led to, as well as prevent a second stroke from occurring in the future. The list of commonly used medications includes anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs, statins, blood pressure drugs, multivitamins, etc. according to the individual needs of the patient.
  • Physical therapy
Physical therapists focus on helping the patient to overcome any issues linked to coordination, movement, balance, and strength. Different methods of physical therapy will be used from day one after stroke, to help gain back as much as control over the movements that have been affected by the stroke itself. It all starts with basic passive movements that are done by the physical therapist until the patient is capable of completing active movements with or without help. The patient is taught how to progress from sitting up to moving to a wheelchair, bearing their weight, and moving with or without help, all of that depending on the patient’s physical and mental abilities.
  • Occupational therapy

Because many patients face a decline in their self-care abilities, they require an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist works with stroke survivors to help them relearn how to complete everyday activities such as cooking, eating, dressing, bathing, and even reading and writing. Relearning these skills will benefit the patient’s mental health greatly since many of them are experiencing depression and anxiety due to being dependent on other people’s help to complete these everyday activities.

  • Speech therapy
A speech therapist is here to assist with any speech and language issues. They are here to help the patient relearn how to speak, and when that is impossible, teach them new ways of communication so that they would be able to continue living a normal life as much as possible. The efficiency of speech therapy depends on the brain area where the stroke has occurred, although overall, it does lead to a noticeable improvement.
  • Cognitive therapy
Cognitive dysfunctions after stroke are common for many patients. Any issues related to problem-solving, memory, thinking, learning, etc. and even emotional disturbances and issues linked to emotional control can be treated with the help of cognitive therapy. With the right cognitive exercises, you can expect to see improvements in your thinking, memory, and even social skills.
  • Support from family members and friends
Seeing self-going through the difficult consequences that we have mentioned can have a toll on one’s self-esteem and mental health in general. This is where family members and friends play a crucial role in the recovery process.

Prognosis after stroke recovery

The question that draws the most attention often is – “When is my loved one going to get better?”. It is only natural to wonder when you will see yourself or your loved one get better and how much will that person recover.

But these are the two most difficult questions to answer. The answers, again, depending on the factors that we mentioned before. The truth is that every patient is different, and so, every case is different as well, which is why predicting the degree and the pace of the recovery process itself is not an easy task for any healthcare professional to do.

For most patients, the biggest progress is seen in the first six months within the rehabilitation process. Progress can be seen up to two years after the stroke since most experts agree on the brain being able to continue healing itself during these two years. For other patients, muscle weakness and poor memory are not issues that they manage to improve. However, they too can relearn new skills that would help them to improve their active lifestyles.

Conclusion

Stroke is a serious health issue that causes multiple complications and consequences, and may even lead to death. It is up to the rehabilitation team to help the patient combat any issues and decreased abilities that he/she faces due to the stroke itself. Rehabilitation is an essential part of the treatment process if any real effort in the patient’s condition is to be seen.

If you or a loved one is dealing with the consequences of stroke, we highly encourage you to ask for help. Use Google engine to search for “Inpatient stroke rehabilitation centers near me in Abu Dhabi or al ain” and you will find Cambridge is always near to you. Do not allow the consequences of the stroke to take over your life and join the thousands of stroke survivors that are living a healthy life despite their history of stroke.

Why Cambridge?

Cambridge Medical & Rehabilitation Center is the specialized provider for Long-term Care and rehabilitation services in the United Arab Emirates. With 2 main facilities in Abu Dhabi & Al Ain, which are designed in a rehabilitation and long-term care hospital with a capacity of 90 beds each.

Cambridge provides an interdisciplinary clinical approach for Stroke Rehabilitation which is customized for adults and adolescents. The best rehabilitation services are not only our goal but our ultimate objective is to customize the care plan for each patient and make sure that the patient’s family and their members are integrated into the treatment plan.

Either you joined Abu Dhabi hospital or Al Ain hospital for any kind of our rehabilitation services or even for long-term care you will feel as if you are at #Your Second Home.

Need Help? Chat with us