A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the rapid loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain and the resultant damage to the nervous tissue. As a result of this damage there may be an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech and/or deficits in vision.
Stroke rehabilitation is the process by which those with disabling strokes undergo treatment to help them return to normal life as much as possible by regaining and relearning the skills of everyday living. It also aims to help the patients understand and adapt to difficulties, prevent secondary complications and educate family members to play a supporting role.
Physiotherapy focuses on joint range of motion and strengthening exercises and the re-learning of functional tasks of such as bed mobility, transferring, walking and other gross motor functions. Therapists also work with patients to improve body awareness, the use of the hemiplegic side, faulty balance and foot drop.
Rehabilitation focuses on facilitating the production of strong movements using normal patterns during the performance of day-to-day functional tasks. Emphasis is often on functional tasks and the patient’s individual goals. Through continuous practice the patient relearns to use and adapt the hemiplegic limb during functional activities to create lasting permanent changes and independence in day-to-day activities.