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How therapy disciplines work together to promote stroke recovery

By Imago Rehab, as featured on LinkedIn
2 minutes

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week: Part 2

In our last post, we discussed three major health professions in stroke rehabilitation as well as the stroke survivor, care partners, and loved ones as members of the rehabilitation team. In this follow-up blog post, we will explain how all of these individual parts work together to promote a successful stroke recovery.

The three rehabilitation disciplines typically communicate frequently and discuss progress within each of their domains. There is a good amount of overlap between OT, PT, and SLP. Often, progress tends to occur consistently within the goals of each discipline. In other words, if you’re making gains with one of your therapists, odds are, you’re making gains with all of them in some way or another.

  • The therapists do their best to carry over techniques, developing skills, and strategies from the other disciplines, into their own treatments. For instance, if a stroke survivor is working on communication, but hasn’t quite recovered their speech functions yet, the OT and PT will use the communication chart provided by the SLP to carry over communication skills during PT or OT sessions.
  • If a client has a shoulder subluxation and is working to improve that in OT, the PT, and SLP will make sure the individual is wearing their brace/sling/positional device while walking or resting to help maintain the person’s shoulder integrity.
  • If the PT is working on a stroke survivor wearing their AFO (ankle-foot orthosis) for foot drop or weakness, the OT and SLP will help ensure carryover by checking to see if the brace is on before walking or during their session so the individual can get used to wearing it.

Stroke recovery is TEAM EFFORT, requiring eyes and thoughts on all goals, all of the time!

As mentioned, the MOST IMPORTANT members of the rehab team are the stroke survivor, loved ones, and care partners. The stroke survivor works their hardest to meet goals and make gains while recovering from the emotional hardship of adapting to a different life and role. Loved ones and care partners do their best to support the stroke survivor. Their role is to find the line between helping enough for the individual to be successful and helping TOO MUCH for the person to become dependent. For more on this, read our blog, Caregivers: How to help by NOT helping.

It’s important to find ways to support a stroke survivors in ways that THEY need and that will help them become successful. The stroke survivor, loved ones, and care partners are the people that go home and have to remember what they learned and figure out how to carry this over properly in their home environment, while continuing to recover and make progress. HUGE props to this portion of the rehab team.

With each day, recovery becomes more and more of a clear and attainable goal. Of course there are good days and bad days. HOWEVER, when all parts of the rehab team are communicating, working cohesively, and focused on understanding the needs and components of success, the good days overtake the bad ones. As we close out on National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, we want to say THANK YOU to EVERY member of the rehabilitation team. Recovery stories from stroke survivors would not be nearly as frequent or successful without each member of the team. Remember to thank your rehab team members and that you are all in it together!

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