Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists (PTs and OTs) play an important role in stroke rehabilitation, through early and tailored interventions, and by supporting the individual to set and achieve relevant and functional goals for their rehabilitation.
Stroke, also known as a cardiovascular accident (CVA) can be a life-altering event that affects just under 40,000 Australians per year. (Source: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/hsvd-facts/contents/heart-stroke-and-vascular-disease-and-subtypes/what-is-stroke).
With early intervention, and the expertise of allied health professionals, individuals who have suffered a stroke can experience significant improvements in their quality of life.
Within three months after a stroke, the brain is more receptive to change, making it a critical window of opportunity for maximising recovery.
While early intervention is the cornerstone of stroke rehabilitation, intervention at any stage following stroke is beneficial, with individuals often showing remarkable improvements in their function.
Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists develop tailored treatment plans to address the specific impairments and challenges faced by stroke survivors. Through a combination of exercise, activity and intervention, outcomes including restoring lost function, improving mobility, and reducing complications such as joint and muscle stiffness can be achieved.
The interventions prescribed by Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists can have a profound impact on overall quality of life for individuals who have suffered a stroke. Physical therapy focusses on restoring movement and function, helping clients to regain strength, balance and coordination. This allows them to perform activities of daily living independently and with confidence. Occupational Therapists, on the other hand, help stroke survivors relearn and adapt to essential tasks, like dressing, grooming and cooking, allowing them to regain a sense of independence and purpose.
PTs and OTs can support individuals to identify relevant and functional goals that align with their aspirations and daily routines. These goals may include things like walking unassisted, getting dressed for the day, or engaging in leisure activities. By focusing on meaningful goals, stroke survivors’ motivation to actively participate in therapy can improve. Therapists regularly reassess these goals to ensure they remain challenging yet attainable. Achieving these goals not only boosts self-confidence and improves mental health and wellbeing, but also fosters a sense of empowerment.
Through early intervention, tailored treatment plans and the establishment of relevant and functional goals, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists make a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for individuals affected by stroke. Their expertise and guidance empower patients to regain independence, rebuild their lives, and embrace a future filled with hope and possibilities. By harnessing the power of rehabilitation, stroke survivors can achieve remarkable progress on their journey towards recovery.