Rehabilitation after a
stroke usually involves a number of health
professionals. These may include the following people.
Doctors and nurses
Rehabilitation doctor. The rehabilitation doctor is
in charge of your medical care after a stroke. This may be a
physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical
medicine and rehabilitation), a
neurologist, or a primary care doctor.
Rehabilitation nurse. A rehabilitation nurse
specializes in nursing care for people with disabilities. He or she can provide
nursing care and helps doctors coordinate medical care. A rehabilitation nurse
can also educate both you and your family about recovering from a
Physical therapist. A
physical therapist evaluates and treats problems with
movement, balance, and coordination. The physical therapist can provide you
with training and exercises to improve walking, getting into and out of bed or
a chair, and moving around without losing your balance. The physical therapist
also teaches your family members how to help with exercises and how to help you
move or walk, if needed.
Occupational therapist. An
occupational therapist helps you relearn skills that
you lost as a result of your stroke. He or she may have you do exercises and
practice activities so that you can learn to do the things you could before,
such as eating, bathing, dressing, writing, or cooking. You may not be able to
do these activities the same way as before, so the therapist may teach you new
ways to do them.
Speech-language therapist. A
speech-language therapist can help you get back your
language skills and learn other ways to communicate. The speech-language
therapist may teach your family members how to improve communication with you
as well. Speech-language therapists also work with people who have swallowing
problems caused by a stroke.
Recreational therapist. A recreational therapist
can help you return to activities that you enjoyed before the stroke, such as
playing cards, gardening, bowling, or doing church and community activities.
Recreational therapy can help you practice and relearn physical activities and
thinking skills needed for activities you like.
Social worker. A
social worker can help you and your family make
decisions about rehabilitation and plan your return home or to a new living
place. He or she can help you and your family answer questions about insurance
and other financial issues and can help you with a variety of support services.
Social workers also provide or arrange for counseling to help cope with
emotional adjustments after a stroke.
Licensed counselor or psychologist. A
professional counselor or a
psychologist can provide
counseling to help you or your family members adjust
and cope after a stroke. Counselors may use interviews and tests to identify
and understand where you are having trouble. They may help you with thinking or
memory problems or may work with other professionals to help you.
Other health professionals
Orthotist. An orthotist
can fit you with special braces, splints, or footwear that help with movement,
correct deformity, and relieve pain.
dietitian can help you plan a balanced diet during
rehabilitation. You may need a special diet if you have swallowing problems.
The dietitian may also educate your family about helping you stay on a healthy
diet after you leave the rehab program.
Vocational counselor. A vocational counselor can help you find a job or get back to
work after a stroke.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.