Home Care Supports Recovery After a Stroke
Each year, 700,000 Americans experience a stroke...and about four million Americans live with the effects of the condition. If your loved one is dealing with the impact of a stroke, home care can help with the transition home.
The effects of stroke can differ widely, depending on which part of the brain is damaged and the severity of the stroke. While the effects of stroke can be quite serious, the research news about stroke is not all bad: 10% of stroke survivors recover completely and another 25% recover with minor impairments, according to the National Stroke Association. While rehabilitation cannot "heal" stroke, it can help your loved one achieve the best possible outcome and improve independent living and quality of life.
When a stroke patient is ready to leave the hospital, home care can help during the transition back to the patient's own home.
When and How Does Recovery Begin?
Rehabilitation therapy begins in the hospital within 24 to 48 hours after the stroke occurs. Because the stroke may cause weakness or paralysis, the first part of recovery will involve independent movement. A therapist may help your loved one move the limbs at first. This is called "passive" therapy. The patient is usually encouraged to perform exercises on his or her own if possible.
Regaining the ability to carry out the basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and meal preparation, is the first step to returning to independent living. Ongoing therapy with a variety of therapists may be needed for months or even years.
Where Will Rehabilitation Occur?
Rehabilitation will usually begin as a form of inpatient care as soon as your loved one's medical condition becomes stable, often within 24 to 48 hours. When he or she is ready for discharge, a hospital social worker will help develop a plan for continuing care and rehabilitation. Some of the options include:
- Discharge to a skilled nursing or other licensed care facility that specializes in rehabilitation therapy.
- Return home, with arrangements made for ongoing therapy on an outpatient basis. Outpatient rehab facilities typically provide access to physicians and the full range of therapists specializing in stroke rehabilitation.
- Return home with home rehabilitation. This allows for great flexibility with scheduling and can give patients the advantage of practicing skills and developing compensatory strategies in their own living environment.
How Can Home Care Help?
Most stroke patients are eager to return home as soon as possible. The familiar surroundings and the peace and quiet of one's own space promote comfort and confidence. But even when outpatient or in-home rehabilitation services are available, some patients are still forced to move from the hospital to a nursing home—or remain there longer then they would like—because the activities of daily living, such as meal preparation and personal care, have become too difficult. Family and friends try to help, but are often overwhelmed by juggling caregiving with jobs, children and other responsibilities. The services of a qualified home care agency can be the deciding factor in allowing your loved one to move home as soon as possible.
Trained caregivers can support stroke recovery by:
- Helping with basic companion services, such as housekeeping, laundry and other household chores;
- Assisting with personal care, such as bathing and toileting;
- Preparing meals, including any special diet the patient's care team has recommended;
- Transporting the patient to doctor's appointments and rehabilitation sessions; and,
- Providing medication reminders.
Just as important, the presence in the home of a skilled in-home caregiver provides a sense of security for patient and loved ones alike, knowing that the stroke patient is in good hands and help is quickly available. This encourages everyone to approach the rehabilitation process with confidence and increased motivation, which are so important for the fullest recovery possible, helping the patient regain the highest possible level of independence.
Visit the Right at Home website to learn more about how senior home care services can help support stroke recovery.
Right at Home is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned, franchised providers of in-home care and assistance services.