Rehabilitation for Stroke

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
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

  • 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
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

  • Trouble using or
    understanding language

  • Thinking and memory

  • 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

Stroke rehab programs may include
the following:

Patient need Example

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


Speech, writing, and
other methods of communication

Cognitive skills

concentration, judgment, problem solving, and organizational skills


Interacting with
others at home and in the community



Pain management

Medicines and
alternative methods of managing pain


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

Family support

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


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

Choosing a rehab facility

Rehab services are provided in many
different settings, including:

  • Acute care and rehab

  • Subacute facilities

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Outpatient rehab

  • In the home by home health

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

  • 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

  • What are the qualifications
    of the facility? Is the facility accredited by the
    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

  • What type of discharge
    planning and assistance is available?