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Stroke recovery advice needed.

elizabeth lee johnson ejohnson at indiana.edu
Mon Jun 2 20:38:09 EST 1997

Bill Walker (wwalker at public.compusult.nf.ca) wrote:
: My father had a severe stroke over 2 months that has left him paralysed on
: the right side and unable to communicate. He is presently in a general
: hospital. This hospital applied to have him moved to a special
: rehabilitation hospital that deals in stroke and other brain injury. The
: rehab hospital assessed my father but turned him down because they felt he
: had limited potential to benefit from their program. In particular, they
: felt he wouldn't be able to understand their instructions, and would
: therefore be unable to carry them out. As well, their seemed to be concerns
: as to the extra workload that would be placed on rehab center nursing staff
: because my father is unable to care for himself with regrad to basic needs
: (e.g. eating, mobility, sanitation, etc.)

My father had a stroke in October 1993 and didn't leave the hospital 
until December. He was in a coma for at least a month and on a 
respirator during that time. He too was turned down by a rehab 
hospital, but was fortunate to have great therapists at the nursing 
home he was sent to.  He finally returned home in Nov. 1994 and has 
lived there since with my mom as primary caregiver.  

My advice is to push for therapy wherever he can get it. If he's only
2 months post-stroke, he may not be able to handle any more therapy
than he's getting right now -- stroke survivors tend to get exhausted
fairly quickly.  We did things like 1) put up a calendar with the day
and remind him each day what day it was, 2) ask simple questions
like his name and address -- you need to be patient because he 
probably has aphasia so words might come out wrong, 3) ask the
therapists what you can do when he's in his room.

There's a great mailing list which has stroke survivors and
caregivers as well as therapists.  You can subscribe by sending
sub stroke-l your name
listserv at lsv.uky.edu
Post your question there and you'll get good answers.

Good luck -- it really does take time for healing, but we found the
doctors to be much more pessimistic than the final outcome warranted.
And we still find that my dad is improving in little ways.

Liz Johnson
ejohnson at cs.indiana.edu

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