Inpatient Rehab Is Best for Stroke Recovery

Stroke survivors will have a more effective recovery if they are treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility rather than a nursing home, according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

The guidelines for stroke rehabilitation and recovery call for intensive, multidisciplinary treatment, which can be provided more efficiently in an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities are required by Medicare to provide at least three hours of physical, occupational, or speech and language therapy per day for at least five days a week. Nurses trained in rehabilitative care are available to monitor patients continuously, and physicians typically visit patients on a daily basis.

Stroke survivors benefit from the care of a diverse team, including doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, psychologists, as well as the patient’s family members and caregivers. Communication and coordination among team members are a key factor in providing the most effective and efficient treatment.

The report recommends that stroke survivors and their caregivers participate in a formal falls-prevention program to prevent accidents at home before the patient is released from the facility. This protocol, which includes education about how to make the home safer, is critical because a high percentage of patients fall after a stroke.