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Cognitive Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy for Stroke Patients

Cognitive Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy for Stroke Patients

Cognitive Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy for Stroke Patients

Tuesday May 30, 2017

After a stroke, rehabilitation may be needed to help the patient regain skills that may have been affected or lost. This can be a very trying and anxious time for the patient and their family members. However, cognitive rehabilitation and physical therapy can be very beneficial and important to overall recovery.

What is a Stroke?


A stroke is the sudden death of some brain cells caused by a lack of oxygen when a blocked or ruptured artery disrupts the blood flow to the brain. 

Symptoms of a stroke depend on the area of the brain affected. Strokes usually occur on the left or right side of the brain.

Strokes on the left side of the brain

Affect the left hemisphere and may cause paralysis on the right side of the body. Aphasia, which is a term for a wide range of speech and language problems, may also occur. Additionally, there may be memory problems, such as shortened attention span and difficulty in learning new information.

Strokes on the right side of the brain

Often cause paralysis on the left side of the body and may cause difficulty with attention span, denial of having a stroke, judgement and visual/spatial problems. Both physical and cognitive rehabilitation may be helpful with overall treatment.

Where the stroke occurs in the brain may determine what types of rehabilitation are needed.

Managing the Effects of a Stroke


From a medical perspective, blood pressure and blood sugars are monitored on a regular interval. This is especially important during the first three hours of a stroke since major changes may occur during that time.

There are many areas to address in stroke rehab. According to Dr. Jamie Swanson, the key to stroke rehabilitation is to focus on functional improvements so the patient can safely return home. Patients need to be able to communicate, maneuver around their house safely and manage their medications.

  • It is important for the patient and family members to know that rehab is an ongoing process that continues at home and does not end at rehab.
  • It is important according to Dr. Swanson to address the patient and family’s emotional concerns and to provide education to the patient and family about the re-occurrence of strokes and warnings signs to watch for.

Speech Therapy for Stroke Patients


Speech therapy is also an important component of stroke rehab since it addresses cognitive rehabilitation, speech and swallowing.

The process is often as follows:

  1. Starts with a thorough evaluation to determine the areas of deficit and other needs to address.
  2. After the evaluation is completed, weekly updates will follow to monitor progress and to continue to work through areas to address.
  3. Assignments are given to the patient to do for practice and reinforcement before the next session. Family and patient input are very important parts of the overall speech therapy process.
  4. The speech therapist also tests for swallowing problems and determines the correct food texture that is needed for the patient. A swallowing assessment is completed and weekly progress reports are completed.

According to Marilyn Stanford, speech language pathologist, the language lab is an effective way to balance therapy by mixing various forms of mediums in a dedicated room where there are few distractions and interruptions.

If you need more information on stroke rehabilitation, you can call an Abramson Care Advisor 24/7, for no cost215-371-3400