In the past, if you had a stroke, it was almost always a severely debilitating health event. Talking, walking, eating, bathing, dressing, reading, driving and more could not be done without help, if at all. In the worst cases, a stroke meant death. The good news is that modern rehabilitation techniques are continuing to lessen these long-term stroke effects, helping victims lead longer, more productive and more independent lives.
The Importance of Stroke Rehabilitation
One of the most serious medical conditions that a person can experience, a stroke occurs when blood clots or constricted vessels in the brain prevent nerve cells from getting the nutrients they need: as a result, those nerve cells begin to die off. That’s why stroke victims usually experience mild to severe loss of function in various areas of their bodies. Many body parts can be affected by a stroke — from the arms and legs to the eyes, mouth and brain. Proper rehabilitation may allow a stroke victim to eventually regain the use of those body parts that were affected, and recover as quickly as possible.
Finding the Right Stroke Rehabilitation Facility
Using teams of physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physicians and mental health professionals, the right rehabilitation facility should be able to create a customized stroke rehabilitation plan so that each patient has the optimum chance of success. Whether you need short or long-term rehabilitation, you should also look for a facility that employs innovative technology and techniques to help stroke patients gain function, stay positive and improve outcomes.
Patience and Practice are Key to Stroke Recovery
It is not easy to recover from a stroke. Patients can become very frustrated with progress that seems slow or unsuccessful. Patient practitioners who are deeply familiar with this process are vital in helping the stroke patient stay focused and positive. Things that were once so simple to do now require hours and hours of practice. The most successful stroke rehabilitation facilities will be able to provide therapists who not only have a lot of patience, but also a wide range of techniques to make the challenges of recovery easier to overcome.
How Technology Plays a Role in Stroke Rehab
Technology is being increasingly used in stroke recovery techniques that capitalize on the concept known as neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to repair itself after sustaining damage. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is one of the most common types of these technologies. FES works through electrical currents, which are used to treat damaged nerve cells. The electricity stimulates the nerve cells back into action, and the patient regains functionality. Video games are another exciting new tool that rehabilitation facilities can use. Platforms like the Nintendo Wii are ideal for stroke recovery because they use motion sensing technology to help patients practice essential daily tasks, like lifting, swinging and grabbing. Because many video games require good hand-eye coordination, they also help stroke recoverers to practice their motor skills.
The third leading cause of death in the United States, stroke is also the number one cause of long-term disability. If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, you’ll need to choose a rehabilitation facility that has a competent, caring staff; state-of-the-art technology; and an individualized approach. For more information on how Evergreen Health and Rehab can give patients the best chance at successful stroke recovery, contact us today.