I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Today, I want to talk about strokes.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month
Stroke Awareness Month is a time to share resources on preventing, surviving, and treating the fifth cause of death and a primary cause of disability in the United States.
This is a topic that is very personal to my life—as a physiatrist who’s treated hundreds of stroke patients and the son of a three-time stroke patient. So, my support of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association’s recommendation for an acute inpatient rehab over other post-acute care settings, which I’ll elaborate on in this article, is from both a clinical and a personal standpoint.
I’ll start with the personal.
I watched my father go from being a very vibrant and social individual to being homebound and struggling to communicate. It didn’t occur overnight, however, but in stages. The first stroke primarily impacted his mobility. He slowed down significantly, being unable to get around as quickly and efficiently as before, including no longer being able to drive. His level of dependence went from virtually zero to more than half. The second stroke more so affected his cognition and memory, and the third impacted his speech, leaving him depending on others for everything.
I saw firsthand why strokes are often referred to as “brain attacks.”
He experienced what’s called aphasia, an obstruction in one’s ability to express and comprehend written or verbal language. It became very difficult for our family’s social butterfly to communicate. That was by far the most devastating strike against his activities of daily living (ADLs), which is the case for most stroke patients who suffer aphasia.
Individuals with aphasia can still be cognitively intact, so they know they’re not able to express their thoughts. Their frustration is visible in their body language and can be frustrating for the family because they can’t understand what their loved one is trying to communicate. Aphasia and other stroke symptoms that impede physical independence and quality of life can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression in patients. In many cases, it can also lead to family members drifting apart.
Rehabilitation plays a significant role in the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological recovery from a stroke.
To give patients the best opportunity for a good outcome, I stand with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association’s recommendation for acute inpatient rehab. Be it a rehab hospital or a rehab unit, the benefits of acute inpatient rehab include:
- Three hours of therapy per day (physical, occupational, speech) divided into sessions
- Daily visits by a rehab doctor (which is not the standard in other patient acute care settings)
- In some cases, daily visits by an internal medicine doctor (compared to being seen only twice during the entire stay in other acute care settings)
- Care from a rehab certified nurse (who often specialize in stroke nursing) as opposed to a licensed practical nurse with little to no training in rehab related issues
- Evaluation by a neuropsychologist to address the psychological impacts of a stroke
- Assessment and custom nutritional program from a dietician
While strokes are the fifth leading cause of death, the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical errors with more than 250,000 deaths per year. So, it’s very important to advocate for your loved one to get acute inpatient rehabilitation for the best opportunity for recovery from the stroke.
Have you ever tried positive affirmations? Whether the patient or the physiatrist, here’s a guide to using affirmations to help you achieve your goals.
I am Dr. Hassan, Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own independent practice so that they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Please go to businessofrehab.com/guide to pick up the free guide to help you determine the best business entity for your new for physiatry practice and ensure the resale value will be great.
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