As stroke month comes to a close, Main Line Health offers important evidence regarding treatment following a stroke and impactful pathways to recovery. New guidelines from the American Heart Association Stroke Council have been issued for stroke rehabilitation, recommending that individuals who suffered a stroke be treated at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, as opposed to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility.
Acute rehabilitation facilities, such as Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, part of Main Line Health, typically offer more comprehensive choices for intervention techniques, including aquatic therapy, robot-assisted therapy and equestrian therapy. In addition to physical, occupational and speech therapy, patients enrolled in an inpatient rehabilitation program for stroke also may work with a recreation therapist, nutritionist, psychologist or horticultural therapist to impact the many aspects of stroke recovery.
“Previous guidelines primarily addressed medical management of stroke, but these new guidelines reviewed stroke rehabilitation options to optimize quality of life after stroke,” says Karen Zipfel, physical therapist at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital. “Unless an individual is medically unable to participate in a rehabilitation program, an inpatient facility is a better choice for regaining function and independence than a skilled nursing facility. Acute rehabilitation facilities, like Bryn Mawr Rehab, offer a minimum of three hours of therapy per day, five days per week, which is more than a sub-acute or skilled nursing facility provides to get stroke survivors back on their feet.”
The Main Line Health Stroke Program provides a comprehensive continuum of high-quality stroke care that includes community education, assessment and stroke-prevention efforts, early identification and acute-treatment strategies, rehabilitation and secondary-stroke prevention efforts. Bryn Mawr Rehab provides a wide range of stroke recovery options to Main Line Health patients, aimed to prepare them for life after stroke, and communication is key.
“Communication—both between the staff and with the families of our patients— is one of the most important things we can do to advance the health of our patients during and after their stay,” says Kate Turner, speech therapist at Bryn Mawr Rehab. “Patients’ therapy teams meet to discuss their goals on a regular basis, and we are in constant communication with patients’ families to share their progress and plans for after a patient is discharged. Additionally, we offer the opportunity for families to attend therapy with their loved ones and receive hands-on training in preparation for going home.”