What are the Benefits of Stroke Rehabilitation Therapy?

Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term adult disability. Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer from strokes each year. Early recovery and rehabilitation can significantly increase the likelihood of successful recovery from a stroke. Stroke rehabilitation involves a goal-oriented treatment plan designed to help patients regain lost functioning and restore independence. While each stroke survivor will have a different rehabilitation plan, many include a customized combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Take a look below at some of the main benefits of stroke rehabilitation.

Restores mobility

After a stroke, patients can experience drastic changes in mobility, including weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, stiff or tight muscles, dizziness and other balance problems, and difficulties with planning or coordination, resulting in clumsy or slow movements. Changes in sensation, such as numbness or hypersensitivity, are also common, along with swelling, fatigue, and pain.

Stroke rehabilitation helps patients regain abilities that were lost or impaired by stroke, through specifically prescribed movement and exercises, electrical stimulation, or support from temporary braces. Stroke rehabilitation can also help patients learn how to adapt to permanent disability and use assistive devices such as wheelchairs and walkers.

Maximizes independence in the activities of daily living

Weakness, paralysis, and muscle changes often affect the arms and hands of stroke patients, making it difficult to perform the finer motor functions necessary for eating, dressing, and personal hygiene, the hallmarks of independent living.

As part of the rehabilitative process, stroke patients may practice movement for everyday tasks, with repetition as the key to restored function. Other patients may play video games to help improve coordination. Low-level electrical stimulation can also be used to help strengthen weak muscles. The goal of stroke rehabilitation is help patients regain lost abilities and maximize independence. Sometimes this means learning alternative ways to ways to accomplish daily tasks.

Strengthens communication and cognitive skills

Speech and communication abilities are often damaged after a stroke, due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles in and around the mouth, lips, tongue, and vocal chords. A stroke can also affect both muscle coordination and cognitive abilities such as memory, thinking, and judgment, which means patients not only find difficulty with speaking, reading, and writing, but also with understanding others when they speak or gesture.

A comprehensive, customized speech therapy program can help patients communicate more easily. This may include practice with talking and listening, or using gestures or aids to get a message across. Speech therapy also helps with muscle strength and coordination to improve the speed, rhythm, and accuracy of a patient’s speech.

Supports mental health

It’s common for patients to get discouraged, depressed, or anxious about their progress and limitations following a stroke. Stroke rehabilitation programs sometimes include counseling as part of the overall therapy program, along with support groups and family education, which can help families care for loved ones recovering from a stroke.

Emotional and personality changes are common after a stroke, including exaggerated reactions, emotions out of context, irritability or aggression, and even uninhibited or impulsive behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help, along with with behavioral management training and medication.

Stroke sufferers have a better chance to live a rewarding and meaningful life when they have access to a variety of physical and psychological support.

Stroke rehabilitation at Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego

Stroke rehab can mean the difference between regaining daily independence and remaining severely impaired, so if you or a loved one has recently suffered a stroke, call Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego. The compassionate medical professionals at our five-star skilled nursing facility will develop a customized treatment plan to help you or your loved one achieve greater independence and improved quality of life. To find out more about the programs available, give us a call at (619) 399-7920.