Recovering from a cerebrovascular accident

While the risk of stroke increases with age, people of any age can experience a stroke. The expected recovery time and the extent to which a person can recover will depend on the stroke’s severity. In most cases, people will do most of their recovery in the first one to three months of stroke rehabilitation

After patients are cleared to go home from the hospital, they can continue with outpatient therapies. Making a fast and smooth transition can be tricky because it can involve making some big decisions. Our stroke recovery programs bridge the gap between inpatient treatment and getting back to independent daily living, with comprehensive outpatient medical rehab services that help people with much more than recovering their abilities and basic skills. 

Surviving a stroke makes an impact on virtually every part of a person’s life. Keep reading to learn more about what stroke recovery can look like and how we can help.

What’s a cerebrovascular accident?

There are a few different types of a cerebrovascular accident, which is the medical term for a stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a ruptured blood vessel puts pressure on the brain, depriving it of oxygen. An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel near the brain is blocked, which also prevents oxygen from getting to part of the brain.

The acronym commonly used to remember stroke symptoms and how to take action during a possible stroke is F. A. S. T. — face, arms, speech and time. A person may be having a stroke if they try to smile and one side of their face droops. They may have difficulty raising one of their arms. Their speech may be slurred, and the most important thing to do in the moment is call an ambulance immediately, wasting no time. 

How does a cerebrovascular accident affect people?

Each stroke is unique, and a number of different factors can affect the symptoms a patient will experience and their severity. The most critical factor is how long parts of the brain were deprived of oxygen. Smaller strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or “mini strokes”) can result in muscle weakness on one side of the body. More serious strokes can result in paralysis, memory loss, depression, and difficulty thinking, swallowing, or speaking. 

Making a full recovery from a stroke is possible for some. A stroke can impact the following processes and abilities:

  • Movement
  • Energy level (fatigue)
  • Sleep
  • Speaking
  • Swallowing
  • Long-term memory
  • Thinking and short-term memory
  • Activities of daily living (ADLs), like eating and dressing
  • Continence
  • Emotional regulation
  • Vital body functions

Your stroke recovery team

Patients usually work with a few different therapists and a social worker at the hospital who can help them plan post-discharge care. Individuals recovering from a stroke at Ability KC work with an integrated team that includes the patient themselves, their family, a community liaison, a social worker and a case manager. 

Your integrated treatment team at Ability KC may also include:

  • Physical therapist
  • Speech therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Registered nurse
  • Certified nurse aide
  • Educator (for school-age children)
  • Rehabilitation psychologist 
  • Neuropsychologist

What does stroke recovery look like?

Patients usually get a few different types of therapy while they’re in the hospital to find out how much their functional abilities were affected by the stroke. Some may go home in as little as five to seven days if they’re able to do most of their ADLs independently or with some help. 

Each patient’s situation is unique, so their care team at the hospital will work with them to create a discharge plan. People who’ve had more severe strokes may spend some time in a rehabilitation facility. There are different types of facilities with different levels of care and therapy frequencies.

Treatment at Ability KC begins with a complete evaluation and may include a neuropsychological assessment to determine what the patient’s current abilities and goals are and what therapies their recovery plan will include. Patients will get concise feedback and practical recommendations during the assessment in addition to a detailed report that we’ll share with their referring doctors. Finally, we’ll make treatment recommendations and connect you with any resources or accommodations that may be necessary. 

Our intensive day rehabilitation program provides patients with a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan including several different stroke rehabilitation therapies. The therapies we include in patient treatment plans may include:

  • Neuropsychology — Our neuropsychologists assist patients who need help with emotion regulation and depression.
  • Speech language pathology — These professionals help people learn to speak and swallow again after a stroke. 
  • Physical therapy — Physical therapists help patients with balance and gait training along with rehabilitation of muscles affected by the stroke.
  • Occupational therapy — Occupational therapists help people relearn tasks that take coordination and motor skills, like eating and opening doors. OTs can also help people learn to use assistive technology.
  • Aquatic therapy — This is a gentle way to build muscle because water provides a bit of resistance and buoyancy to support the joints. 
  • Training and education — Patients may need to learn more about stroke and the recovery process to care for themselves. 
  • Group sessions — Patients give and receive support during peer support groups and group therapy sessions. We also have groups for cardio fitness, fine motor and visual skills, communication and language, resilience training and education, and more.
  • Life and school or work transitions — We help patients navigate new life changes, like requesting accommodations at work or finding a new job, and we provide support during school transitions.

Begin recovering from a stroke at Ability KC

There’s a lot more to outpatient and day recovery programs at Ability KC. We help people find solutions for new life challenges and provide support for the whole person, including their mental and social wellness. Being part of a community and learning alongside others helps patients feel less alone during life experiences that can feel very isolating. We do leisure activities together, go shopping, prepare meals and group therapy sessions. 

We know making decisions before discharge can feel rushed and stressful. View the insurance plans we accept and information about eligibility for financing. We do what we can to help all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, receive the services they need at Ability KC.

Are you looking for outpatient stroke rehabilitation programs? For more information or to schedule an initial appointment, contact our team today. We look forward to meeting you.