Strokes are a leading cause of disability: brain injuries can contribute to mobility issues, difficulty swallowing, memory troubles, and speech issues. About half of all stroke survivors experience these debilitating symptoms.
These statistics can make stroke recovery seem overwhelming, but focusing on the positives is important. Neurocritical care and rehabilitation can help you regain strength, courage, and even your independence.
Here at Link Neuroscience Institute, our multidisciplinary neurosurgery team wants you to know that there are many cutting-edge treatments to help you or your loved one on the path to recovery.
Here’s a look at what to expect after a stroke.
Your immediate course of action after a stroke depends on many factors, including what type of stroke you had, how severe it was, and what type of symptoms you experience. Potential treatments may include clot-busting medications or neurointerventional surgery to treat an aneurysm.
For example, if you or a loved one experienced a massive stroke, you can expect to receive neurocritical care. Neurocritical care encompasses many elements, including:
Your neurocritical care team may include a robust team of radiologists, rehabilitative specialists, and other providers. This team can shape your rehabilitative plan and help determine the type and extent of support you need. Rehabilitation therapies 一 such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy 一 can go a long way in helping you or a loved one recovery.
As you begin to recover from your stroke, your “new normal” starts to take shape. Life after a stroke can require at-home care, incorporating new tools into your day, taking medication, staying consistent with therapy, and focusing on stroke prevention.
Because strokes can affect mobility, speech, and swallowing, many people need help after having a stroke. Your loved one may need help with daily care. Mobility issues can make dressing, bathing, and eating difficult tasks. You may need to assist with bathing and dressing your loved one.
As therapy progresses, you may find that your loved one’s independence slowly returns, but in the meantime, be compassionate, gentle, and loving as you assist your loved one. Be aware that many people can feel frustrated by the lack of independence.
You may still need to use assistive devices even if you’re going to regular physical therapy appointments. What type of devices you need depends on what symptoms you’re experiencing. For example, if you’re struggling with mobility, you may benefit from using a cane or walker.
Other examples of adaptive equipment or tools include adaptive utensils, orthotics, shower benches, and magnifying glasses.
There are a few things to consider, including eating to prevent another stroke in the future and eating with mobility/swallowing issues in mind. Food is especially important after a stroke. A stroke-prevention diet should be low in saturated and trans fat and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Not only is the type of food you eat important, but how you eat is also important. When you eat, use proper posture and sit up tall. Take little sips or bites to help reduce aspiration, and always take your time eating. A stroke can increase your risk of dysphagia, the official term for difficulty swallowing.
About 25% of strokes occur in people who have had a previous stroke. If you’ve had one stroke, you may need to take medication to help reduce your risk of having another one. Taking your medication as directed is an important part of your stroke prevention plan. Additionally, stay consistent with your physical therapy exercise routines.
If you have questions about stroke management, don’t hesitate to reach out. Give us a call or use our online scheduling tool to get started.