Rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery for many stroke survivors. The effects of stroke may mean that you must change, relearn or redefine how you live. Stroke rehabilitation helps you return to independent living.
Rehabilitation doesn't reverse the effects of a stroke. Its goals are to build your strength, capability and confidence so you can continue your daily activities despite the effects of your stroke.
What will I do in rehabilitation?
What you do in rehabilitation depends on what you need to become independent. You may work to improve your independence in many areas. These include:
- Self-care skills such as feeding, grooming, bathing and dressing
- Mobility skills such as transferring, walking or self-propelling a wheelchair
- Communication skills in speech and language
- Cognitive skills such as memory or problem solving
- Social skills for interacting with other people
When does rehabilitation begin?
Rehabilitation will begin when your doctor determines that you're medically stable and able to benefit from it. Most rehabilitation services require a doctor's order. Rehabilitation services are provided in many different places:
- Acute care and rehabilitation hospitals
- Long-term care facilities
- At home, through home health agencies
- Outpatient facilities
You may be involved in rehabilitation in some or all of these settings. It depends on your needs and what type of rehabilitation program will be best for you.
What is a rehabilitation program?
Under your doctor's direction, rehabilitation specialists provide a treatment program specifically suited to your needs. Physicians who specialize in rehabilitation are called physiatrists. The number of services you receive will depend on your needs. Services may include:
- Rehabilitation nursing
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech-language pathology
- Recreational therapy
- Nutritional care
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Social work
- Patient/Family education
- Support groups
Vocational evaluation, driver's training and programs to improve your physical and emotional stamina so you can go back to work also may be part of your rehabilitation program.