November 2017 - ApoKos Rehabilitation
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Archive for November 2017

Tips for caregivers of Stroke survivors

Stroke is a situation that, contrary to popular belief, can be recovered from with the help of appropriate medical treatment and post-medical rehabilitation programmes. Taking care of stroke patients and catering to their requirements entail a long-term commitment. As a caregiver for stroke survivors, you must be cautious while dealing with the patients by keeping in mind some of the most important tips of caregiving.

  1. Educate yourself on the topic of stroke: Learn about the disease from experts and doctors. It is important to know your subject matter while dealing with a survivor so that care is provided as required.
  2. Take part in the rehabilitation programmes: Post-medical rehabilitation plays a vital role on the road to recovery. Be present and to understand more about stroke and the ways of dealing with the survivor.
  3. Know about the risk factors for a relapse: Make sure that you know the risk factors and precautions of the already suffered and survived attack.
  4. Seek outside help and support if required: It is not possible for one to look after everything and at the same time make sure that things are perfectly in place. There are a number of services available like, adult day care and night care, and special transportation, to stroke patients and their caregivers, which make life easier and well balanced for everyone.
  5. Be prepared for changes in the moods and behaviour of the stroke survivor: Post-stroke situations are unpredictable at times. Due to weakness and limited accessibility, patients may have mood swings that must be dealt with effectively by the caregivers.
  1. Encourage the stroke survivor to be independent as much as possible: This is important so that the survivor can regain self-confidence and is able to carry out regular activities.
  2. Learn the art of being patient: Taking care of stroke patients requires a rigorous everyday routine that lasts for quite some time. One must be patient and gentle to deal with such patients, for a smooth recovery.
  3. Take care of the dietary requirements of the stroke survivor: Make sure that a well-balanced meal is being served so that the body receives the essential nutrients for quick recovery.
  4. Be realistic and remember that recovery from stroke is not a short-term phenomenon: As a caregiver, you must spend quality time with the survivor and be positive about the outcome.

Caregiving after a stroke attack can be quite taxing for the caregiver. This is the period during which both the survivor and the caregiver come together to work on the path to recovery. It is important for both to cooperate and be confident about the successful recovery. A caregiver must, however, follow some tips to ensure that a healthy situation prevails and helps the survivor regain independence.

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Stroke Rehabilitation: All you need to know

Stroke is a medical condition in which excess or lack of blood flow into the brain results in the death of cells. The two main types of stroke are Hemorrhagic and Ischaemic. From the onset of the basic symptoms like inability to move, slurred speech, blurred vision, inability to understand, reeling of the head, and sudden blackout, patients affected with stroke must be rushed to the hospital intensive care unit. However,  along with immediate medical treatment, post-hospitalisation treatment that involves long-term rehabilitation programmes must be conducted to help recovering patients regain confidence and independence to carry on with their lives.

A patient, who has undergone medical treatment for stroke, must be admitted to a post-medical rehabilitation care unit as soon as they are released from the hospital. The first few days after release from the hospital play a vital role in shaping the road to recovery.

Depending on the severity of the stroke, rehabilitation units may include –

  • An in-patient therapy unit in the hospital
  • A sub-acute care unit
  • A rehabilitation hospital with customised inpatient therapy
  • Long-term nursing care

Rehabilitation processes depend on the type and intensity of stroke. The therapies that are involved in stroke rehabilitation are:

Physical Activities                                                                                                                         

  • Motor-skill Exercises: These are physical exercises that help improve muscle strength and coordination.
  • Mobility Training: There are physical mobility exercises that are conducted through balancing and walking tools such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. These tools give support to the body and help the patient move around easily.
  • Constraint-induced Therapy: This is also called force-used therapy. An unaffected limb is restrained while one practises movement of the affected limb.
  • Range-of-motion Therapy: This therapy eases the tension of the muscles or their spasticity, helping patients regain their range of motion.

Technology-assisted Physical Activities

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation: This involves conducting electricity to the weakened muscles and making them contract, which in turn helps re-energise the muscles and joints.
  • Robotic Technology: This involves the use of robotic devices like Ekso, Erigo, Armeo Power, and Balance Master. These devices help patients move their limbs, straighten their spine, and regain balance gradually.
  • Wireless Technology: This is an activity monitor that helps increase physical activities after stroke.
  • Virtual Reality: This involves the use of computers and video games in which there is a simulated environment to act in, and increase muscle coordination.

Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy

  • Therapy for Cognitive Disorders: This involves occupational therapy that seeks to help patients revive cognitive skills, boost memory, understand and solve regular problems.
  • Behaviour Training: After understanding the cognitive problems faced by the patient, behaviour training is conducted, which involves helping the patient regain proper behaviourial skills.

Speech and Swallow Therapy

  • This entails speech therapy that helps patients revive lost abilities in speaking, writing, understanding speeches and holding conversations.
  • The therapy also trains patients to strengthen their muscles to enable smooth swallowing.

Stroke rehabilitation may be short-term or long-term, depending on the level of trauma. Throughout the rehabilitation period, patients are trained to exercise both physically and mentally, so that there is maximum retention of abilities and revival of independence. The objective of rehabilitation is to limit any post-stroke complication and give back an independent lifestyle to recovering patients. For more information, visit: apokosrehab.com

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Stroke: Warning Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Stroke is a condition in which excess or lack of blood flow to the brain causes death of the brain cells. The two main types of stroke are Ischaemic; which is caused due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic; which is caused due to excess blood flow. Stroke has some standard warning signs or symptoms, which must be recognised timely for proper treatment and recovery.

Warning signs or symptoms of stroke:

It is vital to remember the main warning signs of stroke. It is easy to remember if one memorises the word, FAST. This word is formed out of the first letters of the general method of stroke detection.

  • F – Face Drooping
  • A – Arm Weakness
  • S –Speech Difficulty
  • T – Time to call Emergency Services

It is extremely important to call an ambulance immediately as a possible stroke is predicted, even if one is not completely sure. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Other major symptoms of stroke include:

  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Difficulty in understanding simple things
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Severe headache
  • Loss of consciousness

Medical treatments after a stroke attack:

Stroke can be treated and the affected patient can be revived to normalcy by following the prescribed medical routine and post medical therapies. The medical tests involve:

  • Physical Examination
  • Blood Tests
  • CT Scan – A series of X-rays is used to create a detailed image of the brain. This is a computerised method of looking into the brain structure and the affected area.
  • MRI – Powerful radio waves and magnets are used to create a detailed picture of the brain cells. This helps in detecting brain tissue and cell damage.
  • Carotid Ultrasound – Sound waves are generated to create a detailed imagery of the interiors of the carotid arteries inside the neck and its surrounding areas near the head.
  • Cerebral Angiogram – The doctor inserts a thin flexible tube in the groin, through a tiny incision, and guides it through the major arteries into the vertebral artery. Then a dye is injected into the blood vessels to make them visible under the X-rays.
  • Echocardiogram – Sound waves are used to create a detailed image of the heart.

Medical treatment after these tests is carried out for maximum recovery. Throughout the intense period of medication, the patient is kept in the intensive care unit.

Rehabilitation processes after medical treatment of stroke:

The healing process does not stop at the hospital gates. One must go further and engage in post-medical rehabilitation therapies to ensure that there is retention of physical and psychological independence to the maximum possible level. In rehabilitative care, the patient is trained to go through various exercises and therapies that enable movement, understanding, and regular functioning.

  1. Speech and Swallow Therapy
    This therapy is conducted by a speech-language pathologist by helping the patient regain the ability to speak, understand, chew and swallow food. The training sessions in this therapy involve language therapy, non-vocal communication therapy, voice training for speech improvement, fluency development, and swallowing examination.
  2. Physiotherapy
    This is a physical therapy that helps the patient regain physical functional ability that was limited to the minimum level after stroke. The patient is required to carry out various exercises depending on the intensity of the ailment.
  3. Occupational Therapy
    This helps the patient in participating in the regular activities in order to regain the body’s functionality. Occupational activities like lifting light things, practising how to hold a spoon and eat with it, lifting a glass and drinking water, operating remotes, switches, and doorknobs are carried out to help regain independent movement.
  4. Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy
    Many a time, after stroke, the patient loses ability to understand even simple things, which results in confusion and anxiety. This therapy aims to help the patient understand their situation and function better. The process involves psychological assessment, skill acquisition based on cognitive capability, application training, and conduction of behavioural skills.
  5. Robotic Technology
    Modern technology and machinery help support the rehabilitation programme of a stroke survivor. There are various robotics that are used to help the patient regain mobility and independence.
  • EKSO: Helps boost mobility.
  • ERIGO: Helps a bed-ridden patient to come to a vertical position.
  • ARMEO POWER: Helps regain movement in the impaired arms.
  • BALANCE MASTER: Helps regain physical balance.

Popular myth says that stroke cannot be healed. The fact, however, is that stroke can be healed if treated timely and properly. Rehabilitation after medical treatment helps further bring back a patient to normal life and regain independence. Defeat stroke and live independently!

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How to prevent a stroke?

Stroke is a situation in which the quantity of blood flow to the brain is distorted, which results in the death of brain cells. To work towards prevention of stroke, one must keep in mind its causes and risk factors.

  • Diet: To keep the brain active and functional, a healthy combination of vitamins, minerals, and fibre is required. A good balance of all the nutrients, taken in on a regular basis, keeps the brain and body fit.
  • Exercise: Healthy food might be one of the most important aspects of good health, but it is not the sole aspect. Exercise is vital to the maintenance of a healthy body and physique. Physical movement allows the food to be digested in a systematic pattern. This further enables the brain cells to function. After all, the brain and the body are connected, and the cells keep live going.
  • Alcohol: Overdose of alcohol is a slow killer. Alcohol, if consumed more than the prescribed limit, leads to damage to the liver and an increase in blood pressure. This leads to an abnormal rush of blood in the brain, which results in the death of brain cells.
  • Smoking: One of the greatest threats to positive health is smoking. The smoke from the cigarettes clogs the lungs and heart, which negatively affects the blood flow to the brain and throughout the body. This results in a disruption of the supply of blood to the brain cells that are vital for the functioning of the organ.

Apart from these lifestyle alterations that are helpful in deterring the process of cell degeneration, it is also important to know the appropriate actions to help someone who might be about to get a stroke attack. During these moments, act FAST. This word is an abbreviation made from the core symptoms that must be looked into. This helps understand better and call an ambulance immediately after the symptoms are experienced.

  • F (Face) – Check whether one side of the face is drooping when the suspected victim smiles or talks.
  • A (Arms) – Try to lift the arms of the victim and see whether they there’s weakness resulting in them drifting back.
  • S (Speech) – Take note of the fact that speech is likely to be slurred and incomprehensible during an attack.
  • T (Time) – It is extremely important to keep a tab on the time, which plays a vital role in determining the scope of recovery. Call an ambulance as soon as possible, to save the patient from further damage.

In contrast to popular belief, stroke is an ailment that can be prevented if a healthy lifestyle is followed along with a good knowledge of its causes, symptoms, treatment, and rehabilitation facilities. Stay healthy by following the basic health tips and knowing the basics!

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