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You were in the hospital after having a stroke. Stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain stops.
First, you received treatment to prevent further damage to the brain, and to help the heart, lungs, and other important organs heal.
After you were stable, doctors did testing and started treatment to help you recover from the stroke and prevent a future stroke. You may have stayed in a special unit that helps people recover after a stroke.
Because of possible injury to the brain from the stroke, you may notice problems with:
You may need help with daily activities you used to do alone before the stroke.
Depression after a stroke is fairly common as you learn to live with the changes. It may develop soon after the stroke or up to 2 years after the stroke.
DO NOT drive your car without your doctor’s permission.
Moving around and doing normal tasks may be hard after a stroke.
Make sure your home is safe. Ask your doctor, therapist, or nurse about making changes in your home to make it easier to do everyday activities.
Family and caregivers may need to help with:
If you or your loved one is using a wheelchair, follow-up visits to make sure it fits well are important to prevent skin ulcers.
Tips for making clothing easier to put on and take off are:
People who have had a stroke may have speech or language problems. Tips for family and caregivers to improve communication include:
Nerves that help the bowels work smoothly can be damaged after a stroke. Have a routine. Once you find a bowel routine that works, stick to it:
Ask your health care provider about medicines you are taking that may cause constipation (such as medicines for depression, pain, bladder control, and muscle spasms).
Have all of your prescriptions filled before you go home. It is very important that you take your medicines the way your provider told you to. DO NOT take any other drugs, supplements, vitamins, or herbs without asking your provider about them first.
You may be given one or more of the following medicines. These are meant to control your blood pressure or cholesterol, and to keep your blood from clotting. They may help prevent another stroke:
DO NOT stop taking any of these medicines.
If you are taking a blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin), you may need to have extra blood tests done.
If you have problems with swallowing, you must learn to follow a special diet that makes eating safer. The signs of swallowing problems are choking or coughing when eating. Learn tips to make feeding and swallowing easier and safer.
Avoid salty and fatty foods and stay away from fast food restaurants to make your heart and blood vessels healthier.
Limit how much alcohol you drink to a maximum of 1 drink a day if you are a woman and 2 drinks a day if you are a man. Ask your provider if it is OK for you to drink alcohol.
Keep up to date with your vaccinations. Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you need a pneumonia shot.
DO NOT smoke. Ask your provider for help quitting if you need to. DO NOT let anybody smoke in your home.
Try to stay away from stressful situations. If you feel stressed all the time or feel very sad, talk with your provider.
If you feel sad or depressed at times, talk to family or friends about this. Ask your provider about seeking professional help.
Call your provider if you have:
Call 911 if the following symptoms develop suddenly or are new:
Dobkin BH. Rehabilitation and recovery of the patient with stroke. In: Grotta JC, Albers GW, Broderick JP, et al, eds. Stroke: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 58.
Kernan WN, Ovbiagele B, Black HR, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014:45(7);2160-2236. PMID: 24788967 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24788967.
National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Know Stroke. Post-Stroke Rehabilitation. Updated September 2014. stroke.nih.gov/materials/rehabilitation.htm. Accessed July 22, 2016.
The American Occupational Therapy Association. Recovering From Stroke. AOTA.org. 2013. www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy/patients-clients/adults/stroke/recoveringfromstroke.aspx. Accessed July 22, 2016.