Rehabilitation After Stroke

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Skilled Nursing Facility:

A facility dedicated to the recovery of function in patients who have suffered a stroke. The patient stays in the facility and is scheduled daily for intensive therapy that is specific to each patient.

A facility dedicated to the recovery of function in patients who have suffered a stroke. This facility is most appropriate for patients who will need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time. Patients receive therapy at a less intensive level to better match the patient's ability to participate.

Outpatient Rehabilitation: Home Health services:

This type of care takes place in an outpatient facility dedicated to the recovery of function in patients who have had a stroke. The patient is scheduled for treatment and participates at a level that is appropriate for each individual.

This service takes place in the patient's home. Patients receive this level of care when being hospitalized is not necessary, but the need to receive therapy still exists to maximize function recovery.
The Role of Occupational Therapy (OT) in Treatment of Stroke - "Skills for the Job of Living"

The OT looks at the whole person, not just arm weakness, and uses activities (or "occupations") that are meaningful to the patient, to help recover independence. In the ICU, the major focus is for the patient to stay alert, then to be able to hold himself or herself up on the side of the bed. The OT will use "weight-bearing" to strengthen the weak side. Later, the OT will begin with simple tasks such as washing the face, brushing teeth, then toileting, bathing and dressing independently. The OT will also help the family and/or friends learn ways to help increase strength, regain sensation and keep the patient safe while she or he is recovering. In rehab, they will continue to improve those skills and will teach the use of adaptive equipment to make daily tasks easier, and make protective splints, if needed.

 The Role of Speech-Language Pathology in treatment of Stroke
The Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) focuses on communication and swallowing skills. First and foremost, the SLP will be responsible for checking the swallowing skills of the stroke survivor. Many people will experience difficulty swallowing and are at risk for aspiration of food or liquid into the lungs. The SLP will recommend the safest diet level, make recommendations for safe swallowing and teach the patient and family about swallowing safety. Rehabilitation of swallowing disorders involves strengthening the muscles and improving coordination. This can be done through exercise and stimulation techniques.

The SLP will also evaluate the stroke survivor's communication and thinking skills and help the patient express themselves and understand what is being said to them. Rehabilitation of communication problems after stroke is very individualized depending on the problems that are noted.

 The Role of Physical Therapy in Treatment of Stroke

The Physical Therapist (PT) focuses on overall mobility (movement) and strength of the patient to help recover his or her independence. In the ICU, the major focus is early movement and positioning of the patient. The PT will start with helping the patient to the edge of the bed, then to the chair then on to more challenging skills. The PT will educate the patient and significant others on ways to help the patient regain independence.