Stroke or paralysis can be defined as an urgent situation which necessitates a rapid intervention. The aim of rehabilitation after stroke is to prevent a permanent paralysis. If the paralysis has developed, the main aim becomes enabling the patents to meet their daily needs and increase their living quality. In both the stroke cases caused by brain embolism and brain hemorrhage, the physical therapy and rehabilitation applications to prevent paralysis are named as neuro-rehabilitation. Memorial Şişli Hospital Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Department Chair Prof. Dr. Engin Çakar has made significant recommendations regarding rehabilitation after stroke.
What is rehabilitation after stroke?
It is needed to re-learn the abilities lost after stroke or paralysis. The rehabilitation after stroke helps to re-learn the previous abilities. This program may not end the effects of the paralysis completely but it is effective in regaining independency and rescuing the lost ones. Because stroke may affect different parts of the brain, the process is different for each person. According to theatre affected by the stroke, the rehabilitation may be applied for the abilities of movement, muscle strength, speech and daily life. Usually the rehabilitation must be initiated after taking the vital functions of the patient under control. This duration is 1-3 days in average. But it can be longer in more serious cases. The exercises start with passive joint motion and then the application of simple exercises like sitting on the bed, walking to the bathroom, taking a shower, eating and dressing up are performed.
Which factors can affect the outcome of rehabilitation after stroke?
- The severity and level of the harm caused by stroke
- Age (The level of healing is higher in children and youth in general in comparison with the adults and elderly persons)
- Chronic diseases and the simultaneous medical problems
- Supportive family and friends can be a quite significant factor in long term rehabilitation.
- The sooner the rehabilitation after stroke starts, the more the rehabilitation success increases with regard to regain the lost abilities and functions.
What are the contents of rehabilitation after stroke?
There are many methods to help the persons overcome stroke or paralysis. Rehabilitation after stroke is performed to regain the abilities while planning the process around repetitive acts. The plan and process of rehabilitation depends on the area which has been affected by the stroke.
Motor skills exercises: These can be applied to ensure and develop muscle strength and coordination in body.
Training of activeness: This can be benefited to learn how to use the supportive materials like wheelchair, walking stick or walker.
Forced-use therapy: While making exercises to help the development of the affected organ after stroke, an unharmed organ is restricted. This therapy is named as forced-use therapy.
Functional electric stimulation: Contractions are formed by giving electric to the muscles which have been weakened after stroke. Thanks to the electric stimulation, the muscles can regain strength.
Robotic technology: Robotic devices may help to regain the strength and functions of the area affected by stroke via making repetitive exercises.
How long does the rehabilitation after stroke take?
Duration of rehabilitation after stroke may depend on the age, chronic diseases and severity of the stroke. Some persons may recover rapidly by overcoming paralysis. In some persons, the treatment may take years.
Where a patient with stroke can take rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation after stroke may be applied at hospitals or specialized centers in the early period, and then at a rehabilitation center, medical facility or at home. The options contain:
Inpatient rehabilitation units: It is applied especially at the specialized clinics of hospitals. The duration of stay can be 2-4 months with an intense rehabilitation program.
Policlinic units: These facilities are known as a part of a hospital or clinic in general. It is possible to spend a couple of days in a week at the facility according to the duration of treatment.
Rehabilitation at home: Some therapies with no special rehabilitation equipments can be applied at home.
Prepared by the Medical Editorial Board. Our health library contents have been prepared for informational purposes only and with the scientific content on the registration date. For all your questions, concerns, diagnosis or treatment about your health, please consult your doctor or health institution.