For stroke survivors and their families, a
good rehabilitation program is key to recovery.
When an elderly person has a stroke, the amount of rehabilitation and the success of that
rehabilitation depends on:
Amount of damage to the brain
Skill on the part of the rehabilitation team
Cooperation of caregivers, family and friends.
Timing of rehabilitation – the earlier it begins the more likely survivors are to regain lost abilities and skills
Depending on the severity of the stroke,
elderly survivors' lives and their ability to perform daily function
can vary greatly. Because stroke survivors often have complex
rehabilitation needs, progress and recovery are unique for each
Although a majority of functional abilities may be restored soon after a stroke, recovery is an ongoing process. The goal of rehabilitation is to enable a senior who has experienced a stroke to reach the highest possible level of independence and be as productive as possible.
Types of rehabilitation programs
There are several different types of programs and facilities that treat elderly stroke patients:
Hospital programs in an acute care facility or a rehabilitation hospital
Long-term care facility with therapy and skilled nursing care
Steps to Take After a Stroke
By learning available options and approaching these choices with patience and courage, you can help ease the recovery process and provide guidance and support.
Choosing a Facility
The severity of stroke will be a determining factor in finding the proper facility to attend a rehabilitation program. Available rehabilitation facilities include:
Choosing a Program
Rehabilitation facilities offer programs that allow stroke survivors to re-learn everyday skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged. The goal of these programs is for individuals to become as independent as possible. This goal is achieved by practicing different activities to increase strength, flexibility and endurance.
Doctors will examine important factors such as a patient's age, overall health and degree of abilities to decide on the best program. For some patients, this means choosing programs that address higher-level medical needs and provide regular treatment as well.
Each program comes with patient care provided by a specialized team made up of the following professionals: Physical, Recreational and Occupational Therapists; Social Workers and Case Managers; Neurologists and Neuropsychologists; Nurses and Dieticians; and Speech Pathologists.
Part of stroke recovery may require taking medications to prevent another stroke. A second stroke is likely to cause a greater degree of disability can be fatal.
Three primary categories of medication have proven to be most beneficial for patients recovering from strokes:
Choosing an Anticoagulant
All anticoagulants should be taken with care, as they increase the risk of uncontrollable bleeding events. Bleeding antidotes are available for some anticoagulants. For example, vitamin K can be administered if patients taking Warfarin experience bleeding. However, there are no antidotes for Xarelto or Pradaxa.
Pradaxa poses bleeding risks and has also been associated with increased cardiac risks. In 2011, 542 deaths were linked to Pradaxa use. Thus far, over 200 claims have been reported across the U.S., and have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) being held in the Southern District of Illinois.
Evaluating facilities, programs and medications can empower caretakers to make the best choices for those who have experienced strokes.
SOURCE: Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.
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