Stroke diagnosis and treatment
Depending on how serious your stroke is, you may stay in hospital for anything from a few days to a few months. You might move to a rehabilitation ward. You'll work with a team of health professionals specialising in stroke.
Starting your stroke recovery
After having a stroke, your body will need time to heal and recover.
You will be assessed for the effects of stroke, including :
- Swallowing test: you should be checked for swallowing problems soon after a stroke, to ensure you can eat and drink safely.
- 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.
- 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:
- Specialist stroke nurses,
- Healthcare assistants and rehabilitation assistants.
- Speech and language therapists.
- Occupational therapists.
- Eye specialists such as optometrists and ophthalmologists.
- Social workers.
Starting rehab therapy
While you're in hospital you should have daily sessions with your different therapists. It will probably involve some of the following aspects:
- Setting goals that are then broken down into small, manageable steps.
- Exercises and activities to help you re-learn skills.
- 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.
The quickest recovery takes place in the days and weeks after a stroke. But recovery can continue for months and years after a stroke.
Stroke survivors tell us that it can take a lot of effort and determination to keep going with rehabilitation. It can be very hard work, physically and mentally, but many people find it helps them make vital progress with speaking, walking and other key skills.
Some people find it helps to get their family members and friends involved. Having help from other people can make it easier to practise regularly.
Therapists work with you to set achievable goals. You can keep a record of your progress and celebrate your successes.
You might not be able to cope with much rehabilitation in the early days. When you feel stronger, you can do more.