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What to expect while recovering from a stroke

Published On: Apr 17 2013 09:39:29 AM CDT
Updated On: May 06 2013 09:13:51 AM CDT
Elderly man with son

iStock / lisafx

Recovering from a stroke can be a lifelong process that will impact both stroke survivors and their loved ones.

For those who suffer a stroke, the type of recovery and its length are determined by the location and severity of the stroke, the National Stroke Association says.

According to the National Stroke Association, more than seven million people in the U.S. have survived strokes. For the survivors, most make progress in their recovery from immediately after the stroke all the way through decades after the stroke.

According to the National Stroke Association: 10 percent of stroke survivors make an almost immediate recovery; 25 percent have minor impairments; 40 percent have moderate to severe impairments and may need special care; 10 percent will need long-term care in a facility.

Survivors will make physical, mental and emotional progress.

To make progress, stroke survivors will often need mental and physical help. Mental health specialists can help survivors cope with their changing lifestyle and possible limitations. Survivors will also go through rehabilitation to try to recover physically from any lasting effects the stroke may have had.

Rehabilitation for some patients will begin while they are still in the hospital recovering from the stroke. Their rehabilitation will continue for weeks, months and even years afterwards. Rehabilitation can be conducted in the following forms, according to the National Stroke Association: in the hospital, at a subacute care unit, at a rehabilitation hospital, through home therapy, at home with outpatient therapy, and at a long-term care facility.

The goal of rehabilitation therapy is to help the survivor regain as much function as possible. Rehabilitation can help the survivor learn to perform daily tasks and prepare them to be as independent as possible. Depending on the severity of the stroke, some skills like talking, walking and eating may need to be relearned.

Family and friends of stroke survivors also need to go through some stages of recovery. A stroke can alter an entire family’s lifestyle, so people who live with and care for stroke survivors will need to learn to cope with their loved one's prognosis and recovery and make adjustments at home.