Stroke Rehabilitation Recovery Considerations
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke annually within the United States. Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term impairment. Yee Sien, et. al (2007), found that patients post stroke made significant functional gains after intensive rehabilitation such as in an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) like HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Altamonte Springs. Early intervention and intensive rehabilitation are vital with evidence indicating that maximum recovery is expected within the first three months after onset.
Recovery: Timing, Intensity and Technology
Stroke rehabilitation is a coordinated use of medical, therapeutic, social, educational and vocational approaches to facilitate maximum recovery from stroke. Evidence supports that early initiation of therapy services favorably influences stroke recovery. When therapy is delayed, patients can develop avoidable secondary complications, such as contractures and de-conditioning. In addition, many studies show that intensive stroke rehabilitation can improve functional ability even in patients who are elderly, medically ill, or have severe neurologic, functional deficits.
Rehabilitation services enable patient neurologic functioning recovery and improve activities of daily living (ADL). The ability to perform ADLs can improve through adaptation and training in the presence or absence of natural neurologic recovery, the element of recovery where rehabilitation exerts the greatest impact. It is important to note that although a person’s greatest stroke recovery takes place in the first three months, and only minor additional measurable improvement occurs after six months following onset, recovery may continue over a longer period of time in patients who have partial return of voluntary movement.
Rehabilitation services within an IRF such as HealthSouth, which are initiated within the first 24 hours of admission, are comprehensive, intensive, and use foundational technology to maximize functional outcomes. Each plan of care is tailored individually to each patient and guided by physiatrists*. Patients receive at least three hours of therapy five days a week. HealthSouth Altamonte Springs’ state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym includes fundamental technologies such as the Biodex®, RT-200, Dynavision™ and FreeStep.
Criteria for a patient’s admission to a comprehensive rehabilitation program may include the following:
- Stable neurologic status
- Significant persisting neurologic deficit
- Identified disability or functional decline affecting at least two of five ADL functions such as mobility, self-care activities, communication, bowel or bladder control, and swallowing
- Physical ability to tolerate intensive program
Why choose HealthSouth Altamonte Springs for your family member, friend or patient who suffered from stroke?
At HealthSouth our multidisciplinary therapeutic approach involving physiatry, physical, occupational, speech therapy and nursing amongst other disciplines focuses on patient-centered goals and family needs. Dr. Dana Clark, rehabilitation physiatrist, indicates that rehabilitation at HealthSouth Altamonte Springs includes, “Access to advanced technology and skilled therapists in the rehabilitation setting that allow my patients to achieve maximum functional recovery post stroke. It also allows for alternative methods of treatment for post stroke complications such as tone and pain.”
*The hospital provides access to independent physicians.
By Saloni Agarwal & Jennifer Campbell
Saloni Agarwal is a physical therapist at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital. She earned her Bachelor’s of Physical Therapy from Srinivas College of Physiotherapy, India and MHA from National University in California. Saloni completed internships at acute in patient hospital settings such as USCD and Scripps Memorial to learn about rehabilitation in the US before serving as a Lead PT at Bishops Glen, in Ormond Beach, Florida in 2011. In addition to providing physical therapy, Saloni underwent training to become a certified Vestibular Rehabilitation therapist. She is currently serving on the committee working towards Joint Commission disease specific certification for Stroke. She can be contacted at Saloni.Agarwal@healthsouth.com
Jennifer Campbell is the Senior Speech Language Pathologist at HealthSouth Altamonte Springs. She received her Master’s Degree from Florida State University in 2006 and has been practicing for the past ten years with a focus in Adult Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She has worked in Acute Care and Inpatient rehabilitation settings and has helped lead rehabilitation programs in Stroke Program Development. She has achieved a Neuro Clinical Specialist designation and her passions are cognitive communication disorders and functional implications, staff development and education, teaching and mentoring and Neuro Program development. She can be contacted at Jennifer.Campbell@HealthSouth.com