5 Ways to Recover After a Stroke

Learning Strategies

Stroke rehabilitation begins almost immediately after being admitted to the hospital and often continues for at least one to two months afterward. The primary goal is to prevent stroke complications, such as stiffening of the limbs and deep vein thrombosis. It typically consists of the following.

Occupational therapy

Patients learn new ways to perform day-to-day activities (for example, writing, bathing, cooking or job-related tasks) that are affected by their disability.

Physical therapy

Specialists provide instruction and exercises to help patients regain the ability to walk and move independently and to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and overall fitness.

Speech/language therapy

Speech/language pathologists help patients regain as much of their lost language skills as possible. They also help with swallowing problems, which can involve doing exercises, learning new body positions, and making changes in dietary habits to make swallowing easier.

Psychological counseling

Psychologists and other mental- health professionals can help stroke patients deal with depression and other emotional issues, such as anxiety and anger. These professionals can work with the entire family to help each member adjust.

Community services

Social workers provide information on community-based services to stroke patients and their families. These services include home health care, adult daycare, meal programs, such as Meals on Wheels, and transportation services.

Rafael H. Llinas, M.D.
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Rafael H. Llinas, M.D.

Rafael H. Llinas, M.D., F.A.H.A., is the chairman and neurologist-in-chief of the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He also serves as director of the Johns Hopkins neurology residency and is a member of the Johns Hopkins acute stroke team. Dr. Llinas received his bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his doctor of medicine degree from the New York University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in neurology at the Harvard Longwood Program based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He also completed a two-year fellowship in cerebrovascular medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Llinas is a member of the American Heart Association’s stroke division and the Maryland stroke task force. His research interests include neurosonology, diffusion/perfusion imaging, the use of neuroprotective agents, and secondary stroke prevention. He has published articles in Stroke, Neurology, New England Journal of Medicine, AJNR, Journal of Cerebrovascular Disease, and Annals of Neurology.