Post-stroke rehabilitation and how you can help.

Stroke patients often struggle with the chronic effects that accompany stroke. Rehabilitation can offer better chances for these patients to cope with their illness, and lessen the discomfort.  For optimal healing, you will need to collaborate with professionals, who will help you navigate life after stroke.

What should I, as a caregiver, expect?

The disability caused by a stroke depends on the area of the brain affected. Your loved one can suffer from impairments in movement, cognition, swallowing, speech and language.

  1. Paralysis, motor impairment

  • One of the most disabling symptoms of a stroke is paralysis of one side of the body.
  • impaired balance and coordination (ataxia)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Slurred speech that is often accompanied by changes in voice (dysarthria).
  • Stroke patients may face chronic pain because of the prolonged immobility of the affected limb. 
  • And/or Inability to sense pain, touch and temperature.
  • Numbness and tingling in the affected limbs leading
  1. Psychiatric sequelae

  • Anxiety
  • depression
  • Emotional lability, excessive and inappropriate laughing or crying
  • Cognitive impairments such as memory loss, confusion, and dementia.
  1. language deficits

  • stroke patients may lose the ability to understand language and speak it (aphasia).
  • Difficulty naming common items, and finding words (anomia)

How can I help a stroke patient?

  1. Make sure your house is safe for a stroke patient.

  2. Because of balance issues and motor impairments, stroke patients are at high risk of falling. An occupational therapist can help you modify your house, so that it is safer.

  3. Watch out for new drug side effects, and symptoms of stroke.

  4. If your stroke patient shows any unusual signs after being discharged from the hospital, make sure that you consult their physician right away.

  5. Remind them to complete their daily exercises

  6. Rehabilitation exercises can greatly improve stroke symptoms. Stroke patients should complete their exercises daily.

  7. Help stroke patients move their affected limb

  8. To prevent pressure ulcers, make sure stroke patients get to move their affected limb once every two hours.

  9. Join stroke support groups

  10. You can find lots of support and guidance talking to other patients and caregivers. Support groups are an excellent place to share your experience, and benefit from others.

Medical professionals that can help:

  • Physical therapist: It is recommended to seek physical therapy to enhance the recovery process especially during the first three months. Physical therapy mainly enhances the recovery of motor and sensory deficits.
  • Speech-language therapist: you can approach this form of therapy if a patient is having language difficulties or swallowing problems.
  • Physicians: stroke patients benefit from regular follow up with physicians. This ensures that they address other comorbidities, and refer patients to the appropriate rehabilitation programs.
  • Psychiatrists: your psychiatrist will be able to guide you through memory loss, cognitive impairments, emotional and behavioral problems.


There are many ways you can support your loved one. Forming a healthcare team, and participating in rehabilitation programs is crucial for their improvement. And do not forget to take care of yourself as caregiving can be overwhelming sometimes.

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