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    Rehabilitation for Stroke

    What is stroke rehabilitation?

    Stroke rehab (rehabilitation) helps you regain as much independence and quality of life as possible. Rehab can help you physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually after stroke. It helps restore you to optimal health, functioning, and well-being.

    The stroke rehab team

    The stroke rehab team revolves around you and your family. The team helps set short- and long-term treatment goals for recovery. The team is made up of many skilled professionals, including:

    • Doctors such as a neurologist (a doctor who treats conditions of the nervous system such as stroke), a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation), and internists 

    • Rehab nurses

    • Physical therapists

    • Occupational therapists

    • Speech and language pathologists

    • Registered dietitians

    • Social workers

    • Chaplains

    • Psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychiatrists

    • Case managers

    The stroke rehab program

    The outlook for people who have had a stroke today is more hopeful than ever. This is due to advances in both stroke treatment and rehab. Stroke rehab works best when you, your family, and the rehab staff work as a team. Family members learn about physical and mental changes caused by the stroke and how to help you become functional again.

    Rehab medicine is designed to meet your specific needs. So each person's program is different. Some general treatment components for stroke rehab programs include:

    • Treating the basic disease and preventing complications

    • Treating the disability and improving function

    • Providing adaptive tools and changing the environment

    • Teaching you and your family and helping them adapt to lifestyle changes

    There are 5 main types of disabilities that stroke can cause:

    • Paralysis or problems controlling movement, such as walking, balance, or swallowing

    • Problems with your ability to feel touch, pain, temperature, or position/ These are also called sensory disturbances.

    • Trouble using or understanding language

    • Thinking and memory problems

    • Emotional disturbances

    Stroke rehab can help you recover from the effects of stroke, relearn skills, and find new ways to do things. Your goals  depend on many things, including:

    • The cause, location, and severity of stroke

    • The type and degree of any impairments and disabilities from the stroke

    • Your overall health

    • Family and community support

    Stroke rehab programs may include the following:

    Patient need


    Self-care skills, including activities of daily living (ADLs)

    Feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting, and sexual functioning

    Mobility skills

    Walking, transfers, and using a wheelchair

    Communication skills

    Speech, writing, and other methods of communication

    Cognitive skills

    Memory, concentration, judgment, problem solving, and organizational skills

    Socialization skills

    Interacting with others at home and in the community

    Vocational training

    Work-related skills

    Pain management

    Medicines and alternative methods of managing pain

    Psychological testing

    Identifying problems and solutions with thinking, behavioral, and emotional issues

    Family support

    Assistance with adapting to lifestyle changes, financial concerns, and discharge planning


    Patient and family education and training about stroke, medical care, and adaptive techniques

    Choosing a rehab facility

    Rehab services are provided in many different settings, including:

    • Acute care and rehab hospitals

    • Subacute facilities

    • Long-term care facilities

    • Outpatient rehab facilities

    • In the home by home health agencies

    When looking for rehab facilities and services, some questions to ask include:

    • Does my insurance company have a preferred rehab provider that I must use to qualify for payment of services?

    • What is the cost and will my insurance company cover all or part of the cost?

    • How far away is the facility and what is the family visiting policy?

    • What are the admission criteria?

    • What are the qualifications of the facility? Is the facility accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ?

    • Has the facility handled treatment for this type of condition before?

    • Is therapy scheduled every day? How many hours a day?

    • What rehab team members are available for treatment?

    • What type of patient and family education and support is available?

    • Is there a doctor on site 24 hours a day?

    • How are emergencies handled?

    • What type of discharge planning and assistance is available?

    Online Medical Reviewer: Anne Fetterman RN BSN
    Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
    Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
    Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2019
    © 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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