On this page:
Starting your recovery
Your stroke team
Starting rehab therapy
Will I fully recover?

Depending on how serious your stroke is you may stay in hospital for anything from a few days to few months, and you may stay on the stroke unit or move to a rehabilitation ward. You'll work with a team of different health professionals.

Starting your recovery

After having a stroke, your body will need time to heal and recover.

Rehabilitation helps you to cope and adapt to your situation so you can become as independent as possible after your stroke. Once you start to recover, you may move from the acute stroke unit to a rehabiliation ward. The people in your stroke team will work with you, your family and each other to assess the effects of your stroke and what that means for your rehabilitation. 

You will be assessed for the effects of stroke, including :

  • Swallowing test: someone in your stroke team will need to check whether your stroke has made it difficult for you to swallow. If swallowing problems aren't addressed they can lead to complications such a chest infections or pneumonia. 
  • Mobility assessment: your stroke team will need to assess how your stroke has affected you physically and what help you need with positioning and moving around.
  • Pressure area risk assessment: to make sure that you don't develop any sores or ulcers whilst you can't move about.
  • Continence assessment: you will be assessed to see if you have any continence problems, and if so, what can be done to help you manage them.
  • Communication and cognitive assessments: to find out if your stroke may have caused any communication or cognitive problems and what help you may need with them.
  • Nutritional status and hydration: to make sure that you are getting the right nutrition and that you aren't becoming dehydrated.

Your stroke team

The team on your stroke unit will include a number of different health professionals who all have specialist training and experience in stroke. You may hear them called a multidisciplinary team or MDT for short. The multidisciplinary team can include:

  • doctors 
  • nurses, clinical nurse specialists and healthcare assistants
  • physiotherapists
  • speech and language therapists
  • dietitians
  • occupational therapists
  • opthalmologists
  • clinical psychologists
  • rehabilitation assistants
  • social workers
  • pharmacists. 

Starting rehab therapy

Whilst you're in hospital you will have daily sessions with your different therapists to help you relearn the skills you have lost and learn how to manage any longer term problems. It will probably involve some of the following aspects:

  • setting goals that are then broken down into small, manageable steps
  • exercises to help you recover any abilities you have lost
  • being shown new and different ways of doing things, such as dressing with one arm instead of two.

Will I fully recover?

Because every stroke is different, there is no set pattern for recovering from one. 

Some people who have a stroke will make a good recovery quite quickly. But unfortunately, not everyone gets better. Complications such as a chest infection can make it harder to start recovering. If a stroke is very severe, you may be left with long-term disabilities. 

Your own motivation plays an important role in your recovery. The more you practice your therapy exercises the more likely you are to relearn skills and adapt to new ways of doing things. But it also takes time and patience, as well as practice and determination.

Some days will be harder than others, but don't get disheartened if you're not seeing improvements as quickly as you would like. Focus on the things you can do and remind yourself of the improvements you've made so far. Never assume that you won't get any better, you may just need more time.