Recovery & Rehabilitation
Current statistics indicate that there are more than 7 million people in the United States who have survived a stroke or brain attack and are living with the after-effects. These numbers do not reflect the scope of the problem and do not count the millions of husbands, wives and children who live with and care for stroke survivors and who are, because of their own altered lifestyle, greatly affected by stroke.
The very word "stroke" indicates that no one is ever prepared for this sudden, often catastrophic event. Stroke survivors and their families can find workable solutions to most difficult situations by approaching every problem with patience, ingenuity, perseverance and creativity.
There's still so much we don't know about how the brain compensates for the damage caused by stroke or brain attack. Some brain cells may be only temporarily damaged, not killed, and may resume functioning. In some cases, the brain can reorganize its own functioning. Sometimes, a region of the brain "takes over" for a region damaged by the stroke. Stroke survivors sometimes experience remarkable and unanticipated recoveries that can't be explained. General recovery guidelines show:
- 10 percent of stroke survivors recover almost completely
- 25 percent recover with minor impairments
- 40 percent experience moderate to severe impairments requiring special care
- 10 percent require care in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
- 15 percent die shortly after the stroke
Rehabilitation actually starts in the hospital as soon as possible after the stroke. In patients who are stable, rehabilitation may begin within two days after the stroke has occurred, and should be continued as necessary after release from the hospital.
Depending on the severity of the stroke, rehabilitation options include:
- A rehabilitation unit in the hospital
- A subacute care unit
- A rehabilitation hospital
- Home therapy
- Home with outpatient therapy
- A long-term care facility that provides therapy and skilled nursing care
The goal in rehabilitation is to improve function so that the stroke survivor can become as independent as possible. This must be accomplished in a way that preserves dignity and motivates the survivor to relearn basic skills that the stroke may have taken away - skills like eating, dressing and walking.
National Stroke Association's Guide to Choosing a Stroke Rehabilitation Provider
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