Welcome to the stroke recovery clinic at Circle Rehabilitation.
The most important goal after having a stroke is to prevent another one. Risks of a recurrence are highest in the first year after a stroke and remain elevated for several years after that. While some risk factors – such as age, race, sex and a family history of stroke – are uncontrollable, there are many areas where patients can take action to protect themselves – for example, by stopping smoking, eating a healthier, lower cholesterol diet and becoming more active.
Circle Rehabilitation’s stroke clinic is dedicated to life after stroke, following the initial stages of recovery – focusing particularly on prevention, and on delivering support for all patients’ continuing mental and physical needs. These may include cognitive, psychological and memory problems; weakness, spastic dystonia and neuropathic pain. In addition, any patient who worries they have had a Transient Ischaemic Attack – a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain, which puts them at higher risk of further stroke – can have a medical review and scan for confirmation.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to brain cells resulting in temporary or lasting damage.
What are the different types of stroke?
The majority of strokes are ischemic, in which the interruption of flow is caused by a blood clot in an artery or a clot which has travelled from the heart to the brain. Some strokes are haemorrhagic, caused by a blood vessel bursting in the brain, often due to high blood pressure.
How many strokes happen every year in the UK?
Stroke is a major cause of death and disability internationally. There are over 100,000 strokes every year in the UK.
What are the typical effects of stroke?
The outcome of a stroke depends on its severity and the part of the brain affected. Stroke sufferers may be left with weakness or even paralysis on one side of the body. Their joints and limbs may move in a different way to previously accustomed. Their limbs may feel heavy or numb, they may have posture and balance problems and they may develop muscle spasms.
Two-thirds of stroke survivors are likely to be disabled to a degree, usually with a combination of impairments: eg in emotional state, perception, speech, swallowing, motor and sensory functions, vision, bladder and bowel control.
What is the goal of stroke rehabilitation?
The objective of stroke rehabilitation is to improve or restore cognitive function, speech and language function, motor and/or sensory skills; promote independence; reduce the care burden, and raise quality of life and resume social function. There is evidence to suggest that stroke management and rehabilitation reduces mortality and institutionalisation.
How long does stroke rehabilitation take?
The length of rehabilitation depends very largely on the nature and severity of the stroke. Some sufferers recover in a few weeks; others need long-term rehabilitation over several months.
What is unique about rehabilitation at Circle?
Circle offers full support to patients in the key early weeks after a stroke in a comfortable, friendly and relaxed environment, to ensure that the transition from acute hospital back to the home or a care home is as smooth as possible. Our programmes are built on our partner VAMED‘s evidence-based Central European model to accelerate recovery. Our team will devise a bespoke treatment plan for each patient, including up to three hours of therapy per day. We offer cutting-edge equipment, including the Hydro Physio aquatic treadmill and the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, ample therapy space, and care from a highly experienced team of therapists led by a rehabilitation consultant.
Tips for recovery after a stroke from the Stroke Association
• Practice the exercises your therapist has set you
• Keep to a routine of doing exercise at a regular time each day
• Try to exercise every day or at least three times a week (the more you do, the better)
• Keep a notebook to remind you what you need to do and record your progress
• Involve and move your affected side as much as possible
• Be patient with yourself. You are aiming for long-term, not immediate results
• Many people worry that being active might cause another stroke. This is very unlikely. If you have any pain or are excessively breathless, then stop. If this does not subside after a short rest, seek medical attention.
• If you suffer from post-stroke fatigue, exercise can help, but start slowly and build up gradually. Pick a time of day to exercise when you are feeling relatively lively, and bear in mind that you may need to rest afterwards
• Take steps to maintain a sensible weight
• Join an exercise group or stroke club to meet other patients and get encouragement
• Ask your physiotherapist about resuming sports and activities you like
• Try new activities that will help maintain or improve your recovery