Many stroke patients report frustration with the recovery process and difficulties overcoming physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Although returning home from the hospital may seem overwhelming, there are proactive steps one can take to make the transition smoother.
Below are 7 tips for those recovering from a stroke:
1. Follow the Advice of Experts
Even after you transition home, it is critical to maintain regular appointments with your doctors, especially your neurologist. Typically, post-stroke patients visit their neurologist at least once every six weeks early in the recovery. However, over half of stroke survivors fail to comply with recommended follow-up visits and do not see any specialists during their recovery.
2. Adapt Your Home to Your Needs
Depending on the severity of your stroke, you may require medical equipment such as a walker, a wheelchair or a hospital bed in the home. In addition, your home may be require safety modifications before you can feel comfortable. Your doctors, therapists and discharge planners should be able to advise you on the equipment you will need at home.
3. Follow Up on Your Blood Work
Because strokes are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain, your physician will usually prescribe anticoagulants to facilitate your recovery. The dosage is adjusted based on your blood flow, so regular blood testing is critical to ensuring a safe and accurate dosage. Your doctors will advise you on the proper procedure and timing for your blood work.
4. Understand Your Limitations
We all value our independence and many of us are accustomed to an active lifestyle. However, anyone recovering from a stroke must understand that the recovery process cannot be rushed. Your brain is gradually rebuilding damaged synapses, which can cause mental fogginess or a sense of mild confusion. Your body is recovering as well and activities that were once routine, such as walking or hand movement, may present new physical challenges. Understand that you can take steps to address them. Receiving support from a caregiver or a loved one can help with your physical needs and memory exercises such as keeping an activity notebook can improve cognitive function.
5. Do as Much as You Can
Though you should never endanger yourself or risk your recovery by doing too much too soon, it is important that you attempt basic tasks with which you feel comfortable. Your efforts will facilitate your physical recovery and small accomplishments can provide a big mental boost and propel you toward your long-term goals. Take incremental steps and utilize support from family or caregivers for daily activities that pose a challenge.
6. Maintain Your Therapy Schedule
Though your therapy needs (physical, occupational or speech) may vary, it is important to start therapy as soon as possible and remain consistent with your appointments and recommended exercises. Though your initial therapy sessions may be trying, maintain focus on your long-term goals. Your therapists are trained professionals who have helped numerous post-stroke patients and can act as expert guides in the critical weeks following a stroke.
7. Watch Your Diet
It is important to limit your intake of fat, cholesterol and sodium to prevent unnecessary stress on your body. It may be tempting to indulge in comfort foods, but a balanced diet is essential to a healthy recovery. It is also important to maintain a regular meal schedule, even though you may not be hungry. Proper nutrition and caloric intake give your body the energy it needs to heal.
A stroke can be an extremely challenging medical event to cope with and recover from; patients must simultaneously overcome physical, cognitive and emotional challenges and many stroke survivors report frustrations with the recovery process. In a recent survey of over 1000 stroke survivors, over 40% felt somewhat or not very successful in meeting their rehabilitation goals and 38% felt they lacked information relevant to their recovery. Regardless of the severity of your stroke, it is critical to take a proactive and informed approach to your post- stroke care and often a caregiver can help ease the physical and emotional stress.Stroke recovery is a lifelong process, but you don’t have to do it alone. In addition to health care professionals, part-time or live-in caregivers can also provide much needed post-stroke assistance. Home Care Assistance of Prescott takes pride in providing the highest level of care with thoroughly trained caregivers that are available 24/7 to respond to your needs. Give us a call at 928-771-0105 to learn more about our post-stroke recovery services or to schedule a free, in-home consultation.