Stokes affect millions of Americans each year. More than 800,000 strokes are reported in the US each year; they are the leading cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Nearly ¾ of all strokes occur in people aged 65 and over, and the risk of stroke increases with every decade of age over 55.
A patient’s level and rate of recovery following a stroke depends on many factors and can vary widely depending on the severity of impairments and on each person’s individual situation.
Statistics from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke indicate that:
- 10% of stroke survivors recover almost completely
- 25% recover with minor impairments
- 40% experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care
It is not surprising that strokes and their aftermath impact not only the patient but family members and caregivers, as various lifestyle adjustments may be necessary. The National Stroke Association notes that while many stroke survivors enter a rehabilitation facility following acute care, many others return directly home after their hospital stay.
The first step to recovery begins in the hospital. Working with a social worker, patient advocate or other resources will likely help direct and coordinate any rehabilitation or other services required following hospital discharge. The medical team may largely determine whether the stroke survivor will be entering a rehab facility or continuing rehab from their home or at an outpatient facility. Rehabilitation for stroke may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, or a combination of these and other therapies.
Additional adjustments, including ensuring that the home environment is safe, may be necessary once a stroke survivor returns to their home. This may require some various levels of home maintenance, including reorganizing rooms or installation of safety devices or other equipment. Even something as simple as removing throw rugs can greatly aid in fall prevention, a major concern for stroke survivors.
A home health agency or care provider may be one of the resources stroke survivors, caregivers and loved ones turn to for additional support. Services that a home health agency can provide — including personal care, companionship, transportation and even home maintenance — can ease the transition for stroke survivors and their caregivers as they return to their former activities.
Recovery from stroke differs in every survivor and situation. For comprehensive information on stroke, including warning signs and symptoms, plus a variety of resources for patients, survivors, loved ones and caregivers, visit the National Stroke Association’s website at www.stroke.org.