Around 50% of the 11,000 people in England who have a stroke each year needs ongoing care and support with their daily lives afterwards. Balance problems, in particular, are common. Rehabilitation aims to help people regain function and independence.
It is often thought that after a stroke the greatest potential for recovery and improvement is within the first few months. It was interesting to read a high quality review recently which challenges this and shows that task specific exercise therapy can improve balance long after the original stroke.
Good balance is essential for efficient walking and many activities of daily living, and these help to live a more independent life.
Stroke survivors often experience decreased confidence and quality of life after leaving hospital. Good balance is likely to reduce falls and therefore prevent hospital admissions. It seems that most NHS services are not set up to deliver these services six months or more post stroke.
The idea that these exercises are task specific is important and this means that they can be orientated towards the activities people carry out everyday. To be able to work with the stroke survivor and their immediate support network; to empower them to build these exercises into their daily routines is more likely to increase the likelihood of them being carried out. The exercises could include the use of technology such as gaming, mobile technology applications and tele-rehabilitation that can be carried out at home. Physical exercises may include things like sitting balance on the side of the bed whilst getting dressed, standing balance in a safe place near the kitchen surface (away from hot or sharp things), using the bottom step of a staircase etc. These are things that can be repeated daily or frequently during the day as it is well known that repetition increases carry over.
Positive Positioning offers assessments for these ongoing rehabilitation strategies and works with you and your support network of family and friends to incorporate them into your daily life and monitor your progress.
For more information contact Positive Positioning.