The primary goals of stroke management are to reduce brain injury and promote maximum patient recovery. Rapid detection and appropriate emergency medical care are essential for optimizing health outcomes. When available, patients are admitted to an acute stroke unit for treatment. These units specialize in providing medical and surgical care aimed at stabilizing the patient’s medical status. Standardized assessments are also performed to aid in the development of an appropriate care plan. Current research suggests that stroke units may be effective in reducing in-hospital fatality rates and the length of hospital stays.
Once a patient is medically stable, the focus of their recovery shifts to rehabilitation. Some patients are transferred to in-patient rehabilitation programs, while others may be referred to out-patient services or home-based care. In-patient programs are usually facilitated by an interdisciplinary team that may include a physician, nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, psychologist, and recreation therapist. The patient and their family/caregivers also play an integral role on this team. The primary goals of this sub-acute phase of recovery include preventing secondary health complications, minimizing impairments, and achieving functional goals that promote independence in activities of daily living.
In the later phases of stroke recovery, patients are encouraged to participate in secondary prevention programs for stroke. Follow-up is usually facilitated by the patient’s primary care provider.
The initial severity of impairments and individual characteristics, such as motivation, social support, and learning ability, are key predictors of stroke recovery outcomes. Responses to treatment and overall recovery of function are highly dependent on the individual. Current evidence indicates that most significant recovery gains will occur within the first 12 weeks following a stroke.
Read more about Stroke Recovery: History of Stroke Neuro-rehabilitation, Training of Muscles Affected By The Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome, Shoulder Subluxation Following Stroke, Post-stroke Pain Syndromes, Apraxia, Lateral Medullary Syndrome, Post-stroke Depression
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