If your senior loved one has experienced a stroke, then his or her physician may have recommended a stroke recovery treatment center for intensive therapy. Stroke recovery treatment may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help improve upper and lower body strength, mobility, and balance, and to facilitate and restore effective patterns of speech and swallowing.
While stroke recovery treatment is typically highly effective, pre-existing health conditions can sometimes delay the patient's recovery progress. Here are some reasons why your loved one's stroke recovery may be delayed and what you can do about it:
If the senior individual has been declining cognitively prior to the stroke, he or she may not have the mental capabilities to actively participate in a treatment program. This can delay the healing process. However, the medical personnel at a stroke recovery treatment center can implement effective ways of rehabilitating patients who are cognitively impaired.
Pre-existing cognitive decline is often compounded by the effects of a stroke, which can further cause confusion, agitation, anxiety, depression, and forgetfulness. In addition to physical, occupational, and speech therapy, a stroke recovery treatment plan for a patient with dementia or other cognitive problems may include counseling by a mental health professional. This will help the patient cope better with his or her recovery and therapeutic care plan.
If your elderly loved one has osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or even osteoporosis, his or her stroke recovery may be delayed. Arthritic and degenerative conditions of the joints can cause extreme pain, limited mobility, and decreased range of motion.
If these conditions affect your senior loved one, make sure that he or she takes any prescribed pain medication an hour or so before physical or occupational therapy begins. This way, pain and inflammation may decrease enough so that physical movements are easier and more therapeutic. Also, if the patient has rheumatoid arthritis, be sure he or she gets enough rest prior to therapy because rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic illness that, in addition to pain and stiffness, can cause profound fatigue, sleepiness, and weakness.
If your senior loved one has suffered a stroke and also has an arthritic condition or cognitive deficits, discuss his or her condition with the doctors, nurses, and therapists at a stroke recovery treatment center. When the medical and rehabilitation staff is well- informed about pre-existing health conditions, they can implement more strategies to help facilitate effective healing for both the body and the mind.