A stroke can happen to anyone at any point in time. Known as a “brain attack,” a stroke is caused by a disruption in the blood flow to an area of the brain. The lack of blood flow starves the cells of oxygen, killing them. As cells die during the episode, capabilities that are controlled by the affected are of the brain, such as memory and speech, may be lost. The National Stroke Association reports that stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States alone, affecting nearly 800,000 people annually.
The extent to which an individual is impact by a stroke varies depending the location of the stroke and the severity of the damage to the brains. Damage is more severe when blood flow is cut off for a longer period of time. Depending on the amount of damage, an individual may experience only minor, temporary issues, such as weakness in the arm or leg that subsides. In some cases, however, damage is more severe, leaving the individual paralyzed or with a severe speech deficit.
In any case, though, post-stroke therapy can play a significant role in an individual’s recovery following a brain episode. Physiotherapy, in particular, has been found to dramatically increase an individual’s recovery rate and can help restore an individual’s physical capabilities by providing a stroke rehab treatment plan that involves reeducation of skills that have been lost due to the stroke.
When Is Stroke Physiotherapy Needed?
Recent research reinforces the importance of physiotherapy in stroke rehab. Evidence indicates that intervention that occurs very quickly after stroke, within 24 hours of the episode, at a high intensity leads to better long-term outcomes.
Per research, physiotherapy should be provided five days a week in 45-minute sessions. So at Pro Fusion Rehab, we work with our patients to provide a comprehensive approach to physiotherapy that meets and exceeds these specifications.
Functional loss is another important factor that determines an individual’s need for stroke treatment and physiotherapy. Patients who experience loss of functional capabilities, such as moving facial muscles and limbs and speaking or swallowing, benefit most from combined therapy.
With that in mind, our therapists will conduct a detailed evaluation of your needs and then design an individualized program of treatment for each stroke recovery patient. In addition to the goals that the physio sets, personal goals are also determined by each patient and added to the treatment plan.
What Is the Purpose of Physiotherapy in Stroke Treatment?
To put it simply, post stroke physiotherapy is designed to help patients recover as effectively as possible following a stroke. As such, physiotherapists are important members of the post-stroke healthcare team. The goal of physiotherapists, both in general and specifically at Pro Fusion Rehab, is to help patients become as independent and mobile as possible during post stroke care.
This capability is achieved by structuring therapy to restore muscle control as well as strength. Therapy may also involve a multi-faceted approach to regain control of involuntary actions, like bladder control. Rehabilitation at Pro Fusion Rehab is structured in such a way as to help patients reintegrate into normal everyday life as smoothly as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Physiotherapy in Post Stroke Care?
Recovery from brain damage and muscle function loss is a long process that begins as soon as oxygen flow is restored to the brain after the episode. Physiotherapy plays a huge part in that process and delivers important benefits to stroke patients.
Physiotherapists are able to not only stimulate muscles affected by the stroke, but they are also able to guide patients through the recovery process and help them with the difficult task of relearning basic muscle movements and skills.
Additionally, post stroke physiotherapy can help:
• Prevent subsequent acute events
• Support an individual’s ability to live independently
• Provide targeted interventions
• Increase strength, balance, coordination, and function
• Improve long-term functional recovery
According to survey responses of stroke survivors, most report that they could benefit from more physiotherapy than is generally provided in the rehabilitation setting. This is where Pro Fusion Rehab bridges the gap – providing more individualized treatment plans with additional therapy sessions and allocated minutes for treatment in stroke rehab treatment.
How Effective Is Physiotherapy Stroke Rehab Treatment?
Research indicates that early, high intensity intervention improves the patient experience, supports post-discharge rehabilitation and reintegration efforts, and decreases long-term healthcare costs.
With its focus on restoring physical function, physiotherapy provides positive outcomes for patients during recovery. This form of therapy helps individuals regain physical function through muscle stimulation as well as cognitive restoration. Not only do stroke survivors report benefiting from this treatment, but research also indicates that the physiotherapy improves the rate of independent living in 81 percent of patients who return home.
Early, high-intensity therapy has the most significant impact on rehabilitation and restored function. Multidisciplinary care that includes physiotherapy reduces both patient mortality and morbidity rates. Likewise, rehabilitation that involves physiotherapy within the first 30 days of a first stroke has been found to reduce patients’ stay lengths.
Effective inpatient rehabilitation also decreases overall healthcare costs. Mobilization within 24 hours after the episode has been found to reduce standard care costs per patient at 3 and 12 month follow-ups. Early discharge supported with physiotherapy also decreases hospital length of stay, reducing short and long term health care costs.
Additional Tips for Post-Stroke Recovery
Stroke recovery takes time. To support the stroke rehab process:
• Be patient and recognize that recovery is a process.
• Ask for help dealing with emotions and questions regarding the process.
• Follow the plan outline by your physio and multi-disciplinary team.
• Seek additional services available in your area as appropriate.
• Find a stroke support group to help you cope.
A stroke can be a life-changing experience; however, it does not have to be a life sentence. Early and effective intervention, involving stroke physiotherapy, is key to restoring as much function and normalcy to your life and routine as possible. At Pro Fusion Rehab, in both Pickering and Milton Physiotherapy clinic, we make it our goal to help you do just that. If you’re not sure what you’re next step is or you need additional support beyond what your health care facility is providing, allow the certified professionals at Pro Fusion Rehab lock arms with you and take the guesswork out of the recovery process.