What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when there’s an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain. This can be due to a blockage (infarct) or a bleed (haemorrhage). It’s a serious, life-threatening condition, so urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person gets help and begins stroke recovery, the better chance they have of making a full recovery..
The symptoms of a stroke can include sudden onset of:
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in one side of your body
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Trouble seeing from one or both eyes
- Difficulty thinking or remembering.
The FAST test can help you recognise the most common signs:
- Face: can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- Arms: – can they raise both their arms?
- Speech: can they speak clearly and understand what you’re saying?
- Time: Call 999 if you see any of these signs.
When someone has a stroke, the faster they get help, the more likely they’ll survive and make a full recovery. If you think you’re having a stroke, get help or call 999 straight away.
Post-stroke care and rehab
A stroke can impact people in many ways, both physically and mentally. The after effects could include:
- Psychological impact: It’s not uncommon for people to feelr depressed and anxious after a stroke. They might withdraw from social activities, feel hopeless or have general feelings of fear, which can sometimes be intense.
- Cognitive impact: As a stroke happens because the blood supply to the brain is cut off, the brain’s ability to process information can be affected. This can result in problems with memory, spatial awareness and concentration.
- Difficulty moving: A stroke can cause weakness or paralysis in the body, leading to problems with balance and coordination.
- Communication problems: There are three main conditions associated with speech resulting from a stroke. These are dysphasia or aphasia (total loss of language and partial loss of language, respectively) and dysarthria (where a person can formulate ideas and thoughts but has trouble vocalising them due to weakness in the facial muscles).
- Difficulty swallowing: A stroke can cause dysphagia – or problems with swallowing. This happens when the swallowing reflex is interrupted – some people will have trouble swallowing certain foods or liquids and others may not be able to swallow at all.
- Visual problems: A stroke can damage the parts of the brain that process information sent by the eyes, resulting in problems with vision. This can present as double vision or losing half the field of vision.
- Bladder and bowel problems: If a stroke damages the part of the brain that controls the bladder and bowel, a patient might suffer incontinence.
Because the impact of a stroke can be so wide-ranging, a personalised stroke therapy plan is crucial. Our Stroke Clinic is one of the UK’s best-equipped private facilities for stroke recovery. It offers an extensive range of services and all the clinical and emotional support necessary for a speedy recovery.
One thing that we know for certain is that the intensity of stroke therapy is key to recovery. This is something we provide, with a whole team of experts, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, speech and language therapists and neuropsychologists, as well as your dedicated stroke consultant, who will see you every day. It’s possible to make significant gains in the early stages of recovery, so having the expertise of a specialist multidisciplinary team is truly invaluable.
What to expect when you come to the clinic
You’ll be assessed by the medical and nursing team when you first arrive. The aim will be to uncover and treat the root cause of the stroke so you never have another one again.
The therapy team will then work with you to develop a tailored stroke recovery programme. You’ll set and work towards short and long-term goals so that you can recover as quickly as possible and get back to living life to the fullest.
We also have weekly family meetings with the team so that you and your support network can participate in your rehab, goals and discharge planning. And we won’t stop supporting you when you’re ready to leave hospital. We’ll help you arrange any care, therapy and equipment you might need by referring to your local NHS or private services, and can also do home visits for those that live locally.
We also have outpatient services, so we can check in with you and make sure you’re doing well.