May is Stroke Awareness month and we have been providing some information on awareness of the signs of stroke
Remember BE FAST
B: sudden change in balance/coordination
E: sudden blurred or double vision
F: one side of face drooping
A: both arms raise- one drifts
S: sudden slurring/garbled speech
T: TIME- call 911 so this person can quickly get necessary treatment to minimize effects of stroke.
And while we feel that awareness and immediate treatment is very important, we wanted to take time to talk about life after stroke. At Dedicated Therapy we feel so privileged to be able to work with people who are on the journey of improvement after this major life event. We generally get to see folks who have been discharged from therapy due to a “plateau” in progress or due to insurance limitations. There are some things that we wanted to share to help people along the way.
1. You may have a Case Manager available to you. Many survivors of stroke have lots of medical needs and, depending on your insurance, you may have a professional available to you to help you manage the insurance piece of your improvement journey. The process to find this out is different for different insurance. The best place to start is to call the customer service number on your insurance card and ask about being provided a Case Manager. And- keep asking. If you get a “no” try to call and get another representative- it may be the first person you talked to did not have all the information to answer your question.
2. You can get a Physical Therapy Check up each year. Many insurances will approve at least an evaluation by a Physical Therapist each year. We feel this is important to the people we serve. If they have been coming for 1:1 Supervised Exercise or our adapted group exercise classes, a periodic visit by the therapist helps direct where that exercise is going. Also, we have found that many time a person qualifies for skilled Physical Therapy treatment in these check ups. We offer a Free 30 minute visit with one of our Physical Therapists to find out if this Check Up is right for you. Click Here to schedule your FREE Taster Session
3. Some times “we (the therapists) are the limiting factor”. We always let our patients know that if progress in slowing, it may be because we don’t know what the next treatment or intervention to help them improve is. In those cases, we have to discharge from therapy, but we try to give people other options: our exercise programs, other professionals who may be able to help.
4. Maybe we are just not the right fit. Working with someone while you are improving from a stroke is a very personal experience. Many times, you “end up” with your therapist because that is who you were assigned when you were referred to a particular facility. Lots of times it works out great. But, there are times when that personal fit is just not there. It isn’t that the therapist is “bad” or that you are “bad”- you all just don’t work well together. (my mother would say you don’t Jee Haw). You can ask for another therapist is if you want! Now, not every facility can accommodate, but it is your right to be able to ask.
5. While you may have a main focus on a physical goal – to walk or to use your arm in a more functional way- you may have other areas that need work to help you achieve your goals. Depending on how much of your brain is affected by your stroke, you may have cognitive (thinking) or perceptual motor impairments. Perceptual Motor skills relate to being about to understand relationships of objects in the space you occupy. This includes your body. For example, people with perceptual motor deficits may have difficulty with recognizing the left side of their body or the left side of the room. Deficits in either cognition or perceptual motor function can hamper your progress toward the goals that you have set for yourself. Talk with your therapist to see if a referral to an Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist would be right for you.
These are just a few things to consider along your journey improving from your stroke. We will continue to bring you more information and tools to help you with your improvement. Until next time!