The road to recovery after a major stroke – Help from others who are experts

Here are some more pearls of wisdom from our guest blogger Helen, who helped her mum make an amazing recovery after a stroke.

In my last blog I covered how my mum smashed her goals and how we went from strength to strength on a daily basis.

I would however, like to share, about the expert help out there for you when you are caring for someone who has suffered a major stroke. You are not alone, although at times it may feel like you are.

I have touched on the carers, who came into the house to look after mum; they are invaluable, as even the basic tasks of each day take time and, when you have other plates you may be juggling in life, this isn’t always easy.

Three times a day, a carer came in to dress mum and give her food, which is a great help. I took the evening shift, as I was back from work by then and I wanted my mum to practice cooking, washing up and cleaning herself.

If you speak to your doctor or specialist from the hospital, they will be able to give you advice on who to go to for help.

Speech therapy is also available on the NHS and our lovely therapist came in once a week, running through various exercises to help mum to form words again.

Three times a week mum would go to the hospital for a physiotherapy session and this was also organised by her doctor. I would be given exercises from the physio to do with my mum after her session, such as squeezing a foam ball to bring back movement in her hands and help her to grip, which we did diligently every day.

I would also recommend:

  • Buying a foot roller and asking the patient to run their foot over the roller to help blood stimulation and general movement. This is easy to do while seated
  • Crumbling a piece of paper, making sure they use both hands, this will help with working the muscles on their shoulder and helping their fine motor skills. Then ask the patient to uncrumple the piece of paper and lay it back on the table
  • If the stroke victim can walk, then having a walk every day, not only helps their physical health but their mental health and wellbeing
  • Lastly, standing from sitting, anywhere in the house or out of the house is vital for strengthening the muscles of their legs

Then get imaginative. What items around the house can you use in the rehabilitation? You will be amazed at how many different exercises you can come up with and this is often fun and a great bonding time between you and your loved one.

I am not sure on the process abroad but in the UK ‘The Stroke Club’, is an invaluable charitable organisation. They would kindly come and pick mum up three times a week, so she could go off to the club, to socialise with other stroke victims. She wasn’t always keen on going, although every time she came home she was inspired by others and she had learnt new coping strategies.

The Stroke Association also has detailed information on what to do and who to contact in regard to strokes.  They support people to rebuild their lives after suffering a stroke.

Their ethos is: everyone deserves to live the best life they can after a stroke. By providing specialist support, fund critical research and running campaigns they make sure people affected by a stroke get the very best care and support to rebuild their lives. 

In the UK alone there are 100,000 strokes a year. That’s one every five minutes.

It is a frightening ordeal at the best of times.  My heart sincerely goes out to each and every sufferer of this terrible illness, particularly during this pandemic we are in. And to the doctors and nurses who are so skilled and caring in their roles.

The sooner you begin stroke rehabilitation, the more likely the person is to regain lost abilities and skills. This was very much the essence with my mum, time was critical in order to help her brain heal and work. After all our brains are muscles and need working as much as our bodies do.

There are numerous articles on the web to help with rehabilitation, but I would be careful with the source. I didn’t have time to read any articles as I was either caring for mum or working and so I would say common sense is often your best bet.

Published by hope2020exchangingdisappointmentforhope

I am a qualified social worker and run a community project for vulnerable adults. I am passionate about social justice. I feel that every life matters. No-one is insignificant or invaluable. I also believe that everyone has the power to change, although some may not wish to. Essentially, I believe in hope. Hope Wells is my writing name.

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