Stroke rehabilitation is a critical aspect of stroke treatment and recovery. Whether mild or severe, strokes injure the brain and can result in an array of impairments and difficulties. Recovery from a stroke often takes time, and patients might need ongoing rehabilitation both in the hospital and after returning home.
The UT Southwestern rehabilitation program treats a wide range of patients with various disabilities, such as:
- Bladder dysfunction
- Bowel dysfunction
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Central post-stroke pain syndrome
- Congestive heart failure
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Degenerative joint disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Emotional lability
- Exercise intolerance
- Falls and injuries
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Pressure ulcers
- Recurrent stroke
- Sexual dysfunction
- Shoulder dysfunction
- Sleep disturbances
- Spasticity/abnormal muscle tone
- Thromboembolic disease
- Urinary tract infection
Regardless of the magnitude of the stroke or where it occurs in the brain, UT Southwestern can provide effective rehabilitative treatment plans for patients, including inpatient and outpatient rehab, as well as help arranging for home health rehab when needed.
The goal of stroke rehabilitation at UT Southwestern is to provide comprehensive support that gets every patient to his or her best quality of life after a stroke. We work with patients to successfully transition them back to life at home, at work, and in the community.
Our Services for Stroke Rehab
Depending on the specifics of each patient’s situation, rehabilitation specialists work to:
- Assist with mobility
- Build strength
- Develop cognitive and behavioral strategies to help compensate for deficits
- Enhance skills needed for daily activities
- Improve balance
- Restore physical function
Interventions might also include counseling, support groups, or individual approaches to particular situations in life outside the hospital, such as:
- Arranging for transportation to attend services at the patient’s place of worship
- Training to play golf with modified equipment
- Simulating going to a restaurant and ordering food that fits in the person’s dietary plan
Our program has special accreditation for stroke rehabilitation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Stroke Rehabilitation: What to Expect
When a patient who has had a stroke is in the hospital, a UT Southwestern stroke rehabilitation specialist will visit him or her and assess the situation within 24 hours of admittance to determine the kind of assistance the patient will need. Rehabilitation therapy begins as soon as the patient is ready and can include one or more types of rehab:
- Home health
Our inpatient stroke rehabilitation unit is on the sixth floor of Zale Lipshy Pavilion – William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, below the stroke inpatient unit, which allows our rehabilitation specialists to easily consult with a patient’s neurologist or neurosurgeon throughout the recovery period.
If outpatient rehab is appropriate, our physicians and therapists will see patients after they leave the hospital. Our outpatient rehab services are located in the Charles Cameron Sprague Clinical Science Building, which is connected to Zale Lipshy Pavilion.
In both locations, we offer state-of-the-art rehabilitation tools and treatments and a team of specialists that includes a:
- Physiatrist: Completes a full medical evaluation and directs the team in meeting patient goals
- Rehab nurse: Evaluates patient safety and provides information about medications
- Physical therapist: Evaluates how well a patient moves, such as walking and getting in and out of bed, and works toward improvement
- Occupational therapist: Evaluates how well patients can take care of themselves, such as getting dressed or eating, and teaches new skills
- Speech therapist: Evaluates communication and thinking skills, as well as safety in eating and drinking, and uses methods to produce improvements
- Recreational therapist: Helps return each patient to his or her favorite pre-stroke activities such as cooking, shopping, or playing board games
- Psychologist: Assists patients and families in understanding the effects of stroke and successfully coping with challenges
- Social worker: Helps patients and families make plans for returning home by finding helpers, getting the right equipment to help patients be independent, and other services
Every member of the UT Southwestern stroke rehabilitation team has specialized stroke training and works exclusively with patients who have had a stroke. This focused expertise allows our specialists to offer patients the best care possible.
Families of patients who have had a stroke play an important role in helping their loved ones recover. We offer daily education classes for patients and their families to attend together while patients are in the hospital, as well as a monthly support group that’s open to inpatients and outpatients and their families at any time during the recovery process.
Join Our Peer Mentor Program
Our Peer Mentor Program, sponsored by Inpatient Rehabilitation, is currently looking for survivors and caregivers of the following diagnoses who might be interested in participating: Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Amputee.
The program pairs current patients/caregivers with past patients/caregivers who are thriving in the community and willing to serve in the following ways:
- Role model to encourage greater independence
- Demonstrate functional skills and activities patients think may not be possible and encourage sensible risk-taking
- Share coping skills to effectively deal with challenges
- Serve as support so that patients and families feel less alone
We are looking for individuals who meet the following requirements:
- 1+ year out from diagnosis
- Desire to be involved
- Thriving in community life
- Active listener
- Supportive and encouraging
- Available to make peer visits, either in person or via phone call or FaceTime
If you or your loved one might be interested in serving as either a Peer Mentor or Caregiver Mentor, please reach out to:
Ellen Dugger, CTRS
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Zale Lipshy Pavilion