Stroke Rehabilitation - Topic Overview
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This topic covers
rehabilitation after a stroke. For information on stroke itself, see the topic
What is stroke rehabilitation?
The best way to get
better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke
rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain skills you lost
as the result of a stroke. Rehab can help you to:
- Do as well as you can and be as independent as
- Learn to live with the changes to your brain and body
caused by the stroke.
- Adjust to living within your home, family,
Rehab starts while you are still in the hospital. After
you leave the hospital, you can continue treatment at a rehab center or at
home. Some rehab programs offer at least 3 hours of therapy a day, 5 or 6 days
A key part of rehab is taking steps to prevent a future
stroke. To stay in good health, you may need to take medicines and make some
lifestyle changes. Work with your rehab team to decide what type of exercise,
diet, or other lifestyle choices are best for you.
You have the
greatest chance of regaining your abilities during the first few months after a
stroke. So it is important to start rehab soon after a stroke and do a little
Who is on a stroke rehab team?
your family, loved ones, and caregivers are the most important part of the
rehab team. A team of health professionals will work with each other, you, and
your caregivers to help you recover from a stroke. A rehab team may
include doctors and nurses who specialize in stroke rehab, as well as
rehabilitation therapists such as:
physical therapist to work on problems with movement,
balance, and coordination.
occupational therapist to help you practice eating,
bathing, dressing, writing, and other daily tasks.
speech-language pathologist to help you relearn speech and language
skills and also help if you have problems with swallowing.
recreational therapist to help you return to activities that you enjoyed before
counselor to help you deal with your
- Other health professionals, such as a
dietitian to help you plan a healthy diet and a
vocational counselor to help you find a job or get back to work.
social worker or case manager will help you and your
caregivers arrange for the help and equipment you may need at home after you leave the