Stroke is a cerebrovascular disease that ranks as the leading cause of disability in adults in Western countries. According to data from the Spanish Neurology Society (SEN), 40% of stroke cases cause sequelae in those affected that disable them to carry out daily activities.
Currently, great medical advances have been achieved, both in the prevention and treatment of the disease, as well as in the work of recovering patients. Rehabilitation work after a stroke tries to restore lost capacities to patients and teach them to adapt to their new situation.
The Goals of Rehabilitation After Stroke
The main objective of rehabilitation is to reduce the impact that possible sequelae may cause on the patient. Relieving pain, eliminating stiffness in the joints and avoiding mental illnesses such as depression are some of the points that rehabilitation tries to minimized.
A multidisciplinary medical team
In order to achieve the best possible result with rehabilitation, it is necessary to have a multidisciplinary medical and therapeutic team specialized in brain damage and stroke. The team has to work together to give the best treatment according to the patient’s situation, taking into account each of the phases of the recovery process.
Rehabilitating doctor. It is the person in charge of establishing the guidelines of the treatment that the patient must follow. He will be responsible for carrying out an initial evaluation of the patient, issuing a recovery forecast, defining the procedure to be carried out and coordinating the medical team. In addition, he will be in charge of patient monitoring and his evaluation during treatment.
Physiotherapist. It will focus on the treatment of motor and sensory impairment, with special emphasis on movement. Recovering strength, resistance and elasticity is part of the objectives to be met by the physiotherapist, as well as correcting anomalies and deficits acquired by the disease.
It will also help to recover mobility of limbs that have been damaged by stroke. Mobility work of affected parts has been shown to stimulate brain plasticity and help to reduce disabilities.
Occupational therapy. It is the least known specialty in the rehabilitation treatment. In general terms, occupational therapy tries to re-teach the necessary skills to perform daily activities, such as personal hygiene, cooking or housework.
In addition to re-educating the patient, this type of therapy helps to eliminate barriers inside homes, making them safer and adapting them to the new needs of people. Their work is essential for the patient to be able to fend for himself.
Speech therapist. He is in charge of evaluating and treating language difficulties that brain damage may have caused. During the treatment, different aspects are worked on, such as improvement in word articulation, expression and verbal comprehension, in addition to repairing swallowing and chewing difficulties.
This multidisciplinary medical team works within hospital rehabilitation centers, where other professionals who participate in this process also collaborate, such as nurses, primary care doctors, psychologists, social workers, prosthetists, neurologists, nutrition specialists, etc.
When does rehabilitation start?
The rehabilitation program after a stroke begins very early. Usually during the acute phase of the disease (first 24/48 hours) while the patient is still hospitalized. In any case, we need to ensure that the patient is medically stable and has sufficient physical resistance and comprehension capacity to start the treatment.
In most cases, the hospitalization time is shorter than the rehabilitation treatment time. This means that the rehabilitation program will continue on an outpatient basis after hospital discharge.
During this outpatient phase, the patient will have to go to the hospital daily or several days a week depending on the type of treatment. The rehabilitation physician will monitor the patient in consultation to value the evolution of it, clarify doubts, detect specific problems that the patient may present and redirect the treatment if necessary.
Rehabilitation work at home
Rehabilitation work is not only limited to that carried out in the medical center. It is important that both patients, their families and caregivers comply with the medical indications and continue to carry out the rehabilitation sessions at home. Rehabilitation centers will give easy and adapted work routines to be carried out at home and thus keep the patient active.
The patient should walk whenever his situation allows it, starting indoors and then outdoors as he gains security and resistance. It is important to encourage the person to do all the activities that he can do on his own, such as dressing, eating, or small household chores. As much as possible, being as active as possible is the best option for the person. This activity will always be beneficial and will prevent muscles and joints from atrophying.
Patient collaboration, key to successful treatment
Beyond rehabilitative treatment, based on numerous studies, we can affirm that the predisposition and degree of cooperation and involvement on the part of the patient and their caregivers or relatives directly affects the success of rehabilitation treatments after a stroke.
It is essential that family members and caregivers are in close contact with the doctor and their therapists. It is interesting that they accompany the patient to the consultations to be better informed about their condition, learn the best way to help and report behaviors or problems that are observed on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, we want to re-emphasize the importance of rehabilitation after a stroke. Being constant in treatments and staying active are very important factors that will help to achieve better results.
Leave A Comment