Recovery and rehabilitation after stroke

Everyone's recovery after a stroke is different. Some people make a complete or near-complete recovery within days, weeks or months. Others take much longer, and some will never make a full recovery. If your stroke was very severe, you may be left with long-term disabilities.

Even in the early days, it is important to try to avoid prolonged time in bed if you can. Moving as much as you can is really important because it:

  • Helps prevent limbs becoming stiff and sore
  • Helps recover posture, balance and movement
  • Can make it easier to eat and drink
  • Reduces the risk of blood clots in the legs
  • Reduces the risk of developing chest infections

After your stroke, you will probably be tired and want to sleep a lot. Activity should be paced throughout the day, allowing rest and various therapy and activity periods to take place at different times of the day.

In the first few days and weeks you may be very tired and emotional. This is normal. With the help and reassurance from the stroke team, you will get the support you need and you should start to notice improvements in the weeks following your stroke. It is not uncommon, however, to still feel fatigue some months after a stroke.

Regular practice of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and/or speech exercises you have been given can help to keep you motivated. Remember that recovery from a stroke can take time and everyone is different.

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation helps you to cope and adapt to your situation. You will be helped to relearn or adapt skills so that you can be as independent as possible after your stroke.

Rehabilitation can be carried out in the following places:

  • A stroke unit or rehabilitation unit in hospital
  • A community hospital or day hospital
  • An out-patient clinic and day hospital
  • Your home by community therapists

CHSS offers a range of rehabilitation support services across Scotland. Depending where you live, these range from communication support for people who are finding it difficult to speak, read, write or understand what other people are saying through to services for people affected in different ways such as problems with movement, vision, memory or thinking.

To find out what services are available in your local area, or call our Advice Line Nurses on 0808 801 0899.