You may have heard of acting FAST—a way to look for signs of someone having a stroke. Or perhaps you’ve learned about the risk factors that contribute to strokes, like smoking.
However, what is less emphasized is what you should do after having a stroke. What are the next steps? What should you (or your loved one) do after this emotional, scary moment?
After having a stroke, post-stroke care becomes essential for both the physical and emotional well-being of the individual. The aftermath of a stroke may create challenges for both the patient and their loved ones—but, with the right strategies, precautions, and support from healthcare professionals and loved ones, you can optimize your recovery and reduce your risk of future strokes.
Physical care is an important part of post-stroke recovery. The challenges the patient faces depend on which part of the brain was affected by the stroke. Many may feel weakness or paralysis on one side of their bodies. There may be difficulties with balance and coordination, as well as changes in mobility and dexterity. Physical and occupational therapy is an essential part of post-stroke care in order to regain strength, mobility, and independence.
By working with a physical therapist, you can learn exercises and activities tailored to your specific needs and abilities. For example, these exercises may include:
- range-of-motion exercises
- strengthening exercises
- balance training
It’s important that you follow the instructions and guidance provided by your physical therapists and follow your personalized plans. This can help with building gradual improvement and rehabilitation.
In addition to physical therapy, occupational therapy focuses on helping individuals regain independence in daily activities such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. Occupational therapists may suggest adaptive equipment or modifications to the home environment to enhance safety and functionality.
Speech and language therapy
Having a stroke can have lasting effects when it comes to speech and communication. It can be frustrating at first to have to re-learn certain qualities of speech that came so easily before. Speech and language therapy may be necessary if the stroke has affected your ability to speak, language, or swallowing abilities.
Speech therapists are there to help guide you using exercises and techniques to improve communication and