Life may become all the more difficult for both you and your care receiver. This is why it’s absolutely vital to understand the intricacies of stroke recovery treatment, and educating yourself on the daily ins and outs of treatment and what to expect.
Here are 5 important things every care giver should know about stroke recovery treatment:
1. Educate yourself
As part of the stroke recovery process, the person you are caring for may be prescribed different medications for treatment. Educate yourself on each medication, what it does and any potential side effects.
Ask doctors or nurses if your home or theirs needs to be modified to suit your care receiver’s needs. You will also need to get clear and concise information on what type of therapies they will need as part of their treatment.
2. Reduce secondary stroke risks
First-time stroke survivors are unfortunately at high risk of having another stroke. It’s important that everything possible is done to avoid this. Make sure your care receiver eats a balanced, healthy diet and exercises regularly if they are able to. Daily walks are highly recommended. Medication needs to be taken as and when prescribed along with regular visits to their doctor for recovery check-ups.
3. Stroke recovery rates differ
As there are a multitude of factors which influence stroke recovery, it is useless comparing your care receiver’s recovery rate to others. There are many factors that all affect the rate of recovery such as:
- where in the brain the stroke occurred
- how badly the brain was affected
- your patient’s motivation levels
- the level of support they receive
- levels of health before the stroke and level of rehabilitation
It’s important to remain positive and uplifting and celebrate every victory, no matter how big or small.
4. Know the signs: when physical therapy is needed
As a care giver you need to be on high alert to the following symptoms which may suggest that the person you are caring for is in need of occupational therapy. If they complain of dizziness, imbalances, falls, difficulty walking, reduced mobility, loss of stamina in walking long distances or loss of interest in recreational or physical activities, it’s time to consider physical or occupations therapy.
5. Make a big deal of measuring progress
When it comes to stroke recovery, progress is measured with a Functional Independence Measure Score (FIMS). The level of rehabilitation depends on their level of improvement.
Typically, stroke survivors who receive acute rehabilitation are expected to make measurable FIMS every week, improving by 1 to 2 FIMS points per day. These functional improvements include daily living skills, mobility skills and communication skills. Make a measure of each of these improvements and be sure to remind your care receiver of them on a daily basis.
Lastly, post-stroke depression is a major reality. 30 – 50% of stroke survivors slip into depression during their recovery, whether in the early or late phases of stroke recovery. Their level of depression can significantly affect their progress. As a care giver it is your responsibility to boost morale and create a happy and motivated environment for both you and the person you care for.