Of people who survive a stroke around half will be left with significant disability. Having said that, the brain is remarkably adaptable and in the months or years after a stroke many cells that have sustained damage recover some of their function. At the same time other areas of the brain take over the functions performed by the cells that have died. The time it takes to recover is extremely variable, commonly, people have a surge of recovery in the weeks following a stroke followed by a slower recovery over the next year to 18 months or so.
The aim of rehabilitation is to encourage and enhance this process. It may include:
• help to aid physical recovery
• assistance in managing the physical, emotional and social effects of stroke
• aids and encouragement to let you become as independent as possible
• medical help to prevent potential medical or psychological complications
The process of rehabilitation may include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and psychological help and may involve a number of different experts. The rehabilitation process should begin in a specialised stroke unit, in hospital or at home. Starting the rehabilitation process as early as possible can substantially improve recovery and reduce the effects of disability
Whatever rehabilitation you experience it is important that you continue to follow your health professionals advice once you return home and continue practising the techniques you are taught.