May is Stroke Awareness Month!

Rehabilitation in stroke recovery engages in multiple approaches for neurological remapping. This approach is dependent on the brain’s ongoing plasticity despite insult. The evidence for these rehabilitative approaches lies in activity-dependent changes in the brain (Braun, et al., 2021). Research is actively exploring the role of dose in recovery with stroke. This discussion becomes critical when advocating for ongoing patient-directed interventions, such as rehabilitative services. Identifying the right frequency of visits and the right duration of practice for a particular skill set to engage neurological remapping is critical in achieving results (Hayward, et al., 2021). Professionals in physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy are engaged in this dynamic when addressing motor challenges and rehabilitating individuals at the various phases of recovery often driving the changes in placement and therapy access (Hayward, et al., 2021). The continuum of service delivery from the acute care setting through skilled nursing and home health are directed by anticipated improvements given treatment at a specified dosage (Braun, et al., 2021). The complexities of this recovery are becoming increasingly diverse with considerations related to pharmacological intervention and timing, nutritional intake and management, and inflammatory responses in the system that impact recovery (Couch, et al., 2021). The reality for recovery from stroke is the complex approach employed by multiple professionals who engage in the rehabilitative process.

Home health services are often a supportive step in the transition home for many patients who have experienced stroke. Efforts in creating modifications and setting-up the home environment are a focus at this phase and often involve a different skill set from those in the acute care hospital setting or rehabilitative skilled nursing setting. We encourage our rehabilitative professionals to train and employ these unique skills to optimize outcomes for our patients recovering from stroke.

Resources for stroke awareness include:

https://www.sophe.org/

https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/communications_kit.htm

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/News-Events/Events-Proceedings/Events/Stroke-Awareness-Month

https://www.stroke.org/en/about-the-american-stroke-association

https://www.hap.org/blog/2021/05/may-is-national-stroke-awareness-month

Recovery from stroke is a long process, likened often to a marathon. The role of healthcare professionals in the rehabilitative space is to continue building and supporting the optimal exercises and environment to gain returns. While progress can feel limited in the later phases, understanding that stroke recovery is ongoing after the acute stage is critical for families and patients in pursuing the right resources. Professionals in rehabilitation are able to support strategic goals within the home setting to aid patient’s participation in life tasks of choice. Ask us how we can help your patients at the various phases of recovery to support their daily living.