Role of professionals involved in care post Stroke

Doctors and nurses
They will be involved with the medical care and support of the patient. Initially, when admitted the person may require surgery depending on the type of stroke (see what is a stroke). The person will also require ongoing review of there medication whilst in hospital and post discharge from hospital to help reduce the risk of future strokes or manage the current symptoms.

During day to day life on the hospital ward the nurses will play a very important role in the care and comfort of the person post stroke. They will often work closely with the therapists who will advise them of current rehab goals.

Physiotherapists initially will review the persons range of movement as soon as possible following their admission to hospital. From this initial assessment they will review the persons ability to complete transfers, this means getting from the bed to the chair. If the person is able they will review there mobility and may consider using aids such as a walking frame or a gutter frame. If the person is unable to get out of bed safely with assistance from the therapists or nurses they may consider using equipment such as a hoist.

From there first review they will set goals with the person to achieve while in hospital. Rehabilitation goals made by each professional will depend on the extent of the stroke and the progression shown during the rehabilitation. On discharge from hospital the they may be referred to a community rehabilitation team where ongoing goals can be set.

Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapist will be involved in rehabilitation when the person is in hospital. They like the physiotherapists will complete an initial assessment of the persons abilities post stroke and will then create goals for the person to achieve. Occupational therapist focus on rehabilitation of everyday tasks such as washing, dressing or even using a mobile phone if this is an important goal for them.

For discharge, occupational therapists like to work closely with the patient as well as family/carers to plan for what will be needed to be put in place at home before the person is discharged home. This may include meetings, home visits, equipment provision and social services support. (see discharged from hospital and what to expect)

Speech and Language Therapists
Speech and language therapists are not just involved with the development of speech but also with eating and drinking. If the person has any difficulties with swallowing this will be reviewed with the therapist who may advise a soft diet or thickened fluids. The therapist will then aim to help encourage improvement with swallowing ability during the persons time in hospital and can be referred onto community support if required.

When they are ready for speech exercises the speech therapist will undertake exercises on the ward, it is vital that the advice of the speech and language therapist is followed and the exercises carried out very regularly. An app which is recommended by the Stroke Association is SmallTalk Oral Motor exercises. Also, SmallTalk Aphasia is free and has a natural human voice to help support a person with everyday communication.

A dietitian at times will see a person post stroke to look at levels of nutrition and the regulation of diet. If they are unable to eat or are loosing weight a dietician will help figure out how many calories the person needs to help maintain an appropriate weight. In addition, advise may be given regarding consumptions of food to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure with the aim of helping to prevent another stroke.

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Following the stroke a persons hearing may be impacted depending on the area of the brain affected. An audiologist can be used to determine the extent of the hearing loss and provide advise as to whether a hearing aid is needed. Hearing loss is not routinely assessed after stroke. It can also remain undetected due to other severe symptoms present, however, it may have important implications for rehabilitation.

As a result of the stroke the person may experience some vision disturbance or loss. An orthoptist or opthamologist may complete an assessment in hospital to determine the extent and type of vision loss and may suggest treatment if possible.

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