Having hit by a brain stroke is devastating, for the health complications which might follow subsequently. But that is not the end of it. Stroke, once stabilized by medical or surgical treatment, has just left the person's ability to function, at one level. It is the events that follow which makes the difference. So start with having the right goal.
Goals for effective functional outcome:
1. Functional ability first, then the Skill - Basic activities of daily living needs to be targeted first. We all crawled before we could walk. Communication in any way is the priority before speaking, sitting-standing before walking, practice before excelling.
2. Functional ability tomorrow should be better than today - Targeting 100% is definitely ambitious but lets agree that recovery post-stroke is not an overnight event. Rehabilitation is always a slow and progressive process.
3. "Practice" The only Thumb Rule- 'Practice makes man perfect' and man here is not just any person. It is a collective noun for every person. Every skill needs to be rehearsed multiple times and in various situations.
4. Medicines help you regain your health but not your function - After discharge if the individual is not able to walk, not able to lift hand or not able to swallow or talk its not that medicines did not work. Medicines saved the life, but the rehabilitation makes you recover function.
5. Earlier the better - It is wise to start rehabilitation soon after the individual is medically stable. There are window periods for effective recovery and effective rehabilitation.
6. Its no overnight magic - Rehabilitation might not show immediate results. It takes time. Be patient and if you are doing it right, you will soon find the difference.
7. Get back to where you were - Though human tendency is to negotiate progressive treatment, your primary goal is to get back where you were and get back to what you were doing.
With effective communication between patients, caretakers and therapists, rehabilitation is as easy as a cake walk.