Stroke recovery and home care
Strokes have different consequences depending on which part of your brain was affected. That means that no two strokes are alike. Each person recovering from a stroke will face their own challenges and frustrations and have their own particular support needs. They also have different areas of strength and capability to build on.
Common difficulties after a stroke
A stroke attacks your brain, your body’s control centre, blocking blood flow to certain areas. That means a stroke can have widespread effects, potentially altering many aspects of your functioning.
After a stroke, many people experience:
- Deep fatigue
- Emotional reactions such as depression and anxiety
- Memory, thinking or speaking difficulties
- Muscle spasms or jerking.
Stroke recovery process
Although stroke recovery varies from person to person, it can be helpful to know what you might expect at each stage.
Immediately after a stroke, your doctors focus on:
- Stabilising you
- Controlling any life-threatening conditions
- Preventing another stroke
- Limiting stroke-related complications.
Once that’s done, rehabilitation starts ASAP, often within 24-48 hours of your stroke. The sooner rehabilitation starts, the better your long-term recovery often goes.
Your brain is very adaptable and starts responding to a stroke very quickly. Your care team does the same, encouraging you to move as much as you can and designing a therapy program that will maximise your strengths and help overcome or work around your weaknesses so you can maintain independence.
The first 6 weeks
This is usually the most intense period involving frequent sessions with your occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
3 months after stroke
The fastest part of your recovery happens within 3 months of your stroke. During this time, as you continue your therapy, your brain continues to recover and adapt.
6 months after stroke
The pace of recovery slows but the gains may continue. Keep putting in the effort with therapy and keep on turning to friends and family for support and encouragement.
2 years after stroke
It can take up to 2 years to recover speaking abilities compromised by a stroke.
Stroke recovery at home
In-home therapy is often the most convenient option, saving your energy for the therapy itself rather than on getting to and from appointments. Seeing you in your own home also provides valuable insights about your daily life and environment which can help your therapists tailor their care to your needs.
Though many different doctors and allied health professionals are involved in stroke recovery, those most likely to offer in-home care are your:
- Physiotherapist, responsible for helping you improve your balance and coordination so you can move safely.
- Occupational therapist, responsible for helping you relearn how to use your arms and hands to manage daily activities such as getting showered and dressed or preparing a meal. Your OT can also identify any home modifications that may be needed to keep you safe.
- Speech pathologist, responsible for helping you improve your language skills and swallowing ability.
- Rehabilitation nurses, who help you incorporate your therapy into daily life and help manage other issues like incontinence relating to stroke.
Tips for caring for a stroke survivor at home
A stroke changes life not only for the person who experiences it but also for those closest to them. If you’re caring for a stroke survivor at home, you can help by:
- Ensuring they take their medications on time
- Encouraging them to practice any exercises set by their therapists
- Getting the right help for the after-effects of stroke, such as depression which is thought to affect 30-50% of survivors and can hinder recovery if not treated
- Building a village around your loved one so that there are others who can help when you can’t or when you need a break
- Taking care of yourself by eating healthily, exercising regularly and having good sleep patterns.
How Focused Health Care can help
Focused Health Care provides a wide range of in-home services to people who need support to maintain their independence. That includes many stroke survivors.
You may be dealing with physical or cognitive changes after your stroke. Sometimes, things will improve with time but sometimes those changes are permanent. Either way, you’ll benefit from in-home care to help you access therapy or manage daily life.
Focused Health Care is run by Registered Nurses. We understand both the medical aspects of stroke and the impact it has on your life. We tailor our support to your needs and are happy to advise you on how best to access government funding for in-home care.
Please get in touch. We’re keen to help.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances.