3 Tips For Rehabilitation In Post-Stroke Hemiplegia

Posted on: 2 September 2018

Hemiplegia is a common complication after a stroke. Unfortunately, dealing with paralysis can make recovery harder, and it often takes longer for the person to resume any sense of normalcy after a stroke. Fortunately, with effort and encouragement, some people are able to recover some lost functions.

Address Any Emotional/Psychological Concerns

The residual effects of a stroke can contribute to a wide range of emotions, such as depression or hopelessness. Beyond the physical limitations caused by a stroke, the psychological aspects can be equally limiting. It is important for someone with hemiplegia to have access to any psychological resources, such as medications and therapy. The ability to be optimistic and motivated can help with the rehabilitation process and also help someone adapt better to changes in their physical functioning. In addition to mental health resources, any groups for people with similar problems after a stroke can also be a source of encouragement and empathy.

Keep Physical Therapy Interesting

Although outpatient physical therapy often includes repetitive activities and motions to build function and strength, the more opportunities to keep these tasks interesting, the more likely a person will remain engaged with their therapy. A physical therapist should take into consideration any jobs or hobbies the person did before their stroke, so they can incorporate these activities into their therapy. For example, a person might have enjoyed sitting with friends and playing chess. Part of their physical therapy can be practicing the movement of chess pieces with their affected hand, especially if this hand was their dominant side. Even subtle movements such as pushing the chess piece to its desired location can be encouraging.

Incorporate Other People

Anyone can be helpful in the rehabilitation process, such as friends, family, or people who work in an assisted living facility. The goal is to have more people who are willing to encourage the person to use the affected side of their body. Of course, when a task is difficult, the person will rely almost exclusively on the unaffected side of their body. Although this is easier and will help them complete a task, it does little to rehabilitate the affected side. It is important to have people around who will ask the person to at least try to perform a task with the affected side and regularly encourage them to do so.

Recovering from post-stroke hemiplegia can be a lengthy process with no guarantee of returning to normal activities. To give people the best chance at recovery, avoiding loss of morale and finding support to stay encouraged can help.