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Cardio-Vascular-Accidents (Strokes)

It was 20 years ago that my first rotation as a student physio brought me to what I felt was the most rewarding of jobs for a Physiotherapist.  When someone has a stroke, which is a bleed or a blockage in the brain, it dramatically and suddenly changes their life.  They maybe left with significant brain damage, with any level of disability from being bedridden for the rest of their life or with one side of their body paralysed (hemiplegia) or a slight limp or loss of fine, precise movement in one hand.

After the person wakes up in hospital it might take a few days for them to be assessed to see what damage has occurred in the brain and whether it was a bleed or a blockage (which affects what meds are appropriate).

Once the swelling reduces from the brain injury and or the bleed is under control, it is up to the physios to get the person up out of bed and get walking again.

The others in the team are the consultant, doctor, occupational therapist, social worker and of course, the nurses.

The person generally stays on the stroke unit for 2 or more weeks so it is nice for the physios and others on the team to get to know the client and help them to recover as much of their previous functional abilities as possible.

Sadly, when people then get discharged out of hospital to go back home, they may still have significant disabilities which have not resolved and may not get much support after their intensive rehab in the hospital.

I have had the good fortune of having some clients for nearly 15 years who I have regularly seen make improvements long after the doctors said that they would be able to improve.

Getting good advice, the right aids, good hands on therapy and support is crucial in making the best recovery possible over time.