A stroke can be an extremely challenging medical event to cope with and recover from; patients must simultaneously overcome physical, cognitive and emotional challenges and many stroke survivors report frustrations with the recovery process. In a recent survey of over 1000 stroke survivors, over 40% felt somewhat or not very successful in meeting their rehabilitation goals and 38% felt they lacked information relevant to their recovery. Regardless of the severity of your stroke, it is critical to take a proactive and informed approach to your post- stroke care. While leaving the hospital setting can be daunting, the return home is a major step in the recovery process and should be seen as a positive event. The information in this guide will help you understand and manage the post-stroke recovery process and ease your transition home.
Follow the advice of experts.
Even after you transition home, it is critical to maintain regular appointments with your doctors, especially your neurologist. Typically, post-stroke patients visit their neurologist at least once every six weeks early in the recovery. However, over half of stroke survivors fail to comply with recommended follow- up visits and do not see any specialists during their recovery.
Adapt your home to your needs.
Depending on the severity of your stroke, you may require medical equipment such as a walker, a wheelchair or a hospital bed in the home. In addition, your home may be require safety modifications before you can feel comfortable. Your doctors, therapists and discharge planners should be able to advise you on the equipment you will need at home.
Follow up on your blood work.
Because strokes are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain, your physician will usually prescribe anticoagulants to facilitate your recovery. The dosage is adjusted based on your blood flow, so regular blood testing is critical to ensuring a safe and accurate dosage. Your doctors will advise you on the proper procedure and timing for your blood work.
Understand your limitations.
We all value our independence and many of us are accustomed to an active lifestyle. However, anyone recovering from a stroke must understand that the recovery process cannot be rushed. Your brain is gradually rebuilding damaged synapses, which can cause mental fogginess or a sense of mild confusion. Your body is recovering as well and activities that were once routine, such as walking or hand movement, may present new physical challenges. Understand that you can take steps to address them. Receiving support from a caregiver or a loved one can help with your physical needs and memory exercises such as keeping an activity notebook can improve cognitive function.
Do as much as you can.
Though you should never endanger yourself or risk your recovery by doing too much too soon, it is important that you attempt basic tasks with which you feel comfortable. Your efforts will facilitate your physical recovery and small accomplishments can provide a big mental boost and propel you toward your long-term goals. Take incremental steps and utilize support from family or caregivers for daily activities that pose a challenge.
Maintain your therapy schedule.
Though your therapy needs (physical, occupational or speech) may vary, it is important to start therapy as soon as possible and remain consistent with your appointments and recommended exercises. Though your initial therapy sessions may be trying, maintain focus on your long-term goals. Your therapists are trained professionals who have helped numerous post-stroke patients and can act as expert guides in the critical weeks following a stroke.
Watch your diet.
It is important to limit your intake of fat, cholesterol and sodium to prevent unnecessary stress on your body. It may be tempting to indulge in comfort foods, but a balanced diet is essential to a healthy recovery. It is also important to maintain a regular meal schedule, even though you may not be hungry. Proper nutrition and caloric intake give your body the energy it needs to heal.
Home Care Assistance takes pride in providing the highest level of care for our clients. Our entire team, including our care managers, are on call 24/7 for our clients’ needs. You can always reach us if there’s a concern, an emergency or an urgent need for additional care. Our team of dedicated professionals is committed to the well-being of our clients, and we make ourselves available for regular home visits, family updates, and in-home care assessments. Home Care Assistance has, on average, one team member in the office for every ten to fifteen active clients. Compared to other companies that have half as many care managers in the office, we can be much more flexible and responsive to your needs. See what a difference our care management can make.