A stroke can be a traumatic, life-changing event. Many patients may suffer loss of language, difficulty with swallowing, problems with memory, or physical weakness. If the stroke is treated in time, most patients can recover fully or have less disability than someone who didn’t get to the hospital in time. This is why calling 9-1-1 at the first signs of stroke is so vitally important.
What happens when you have a stroke?
There are two kinds of stroke – one is an ischemic stroke caused by a clot; the other is a hemorrhagic stroke caused by bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel or aneurysm. With an ischemic stroke, if you get to the hospital within three hours of when symptoms start, you can be treated with a clot-busting drug such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). A hemorrhagic stroke, on the other hand, is treated with medicine, surgery or other procedures to stop the bleeding. Either way, time = brain! Calling 9-1-1 is the fastest way to get to the hospital. Paramedics can call ahead so the stroke team is ready and waiting, and treatment can actually begin in the ambulance.
After having a stroke, most patients will need rehabilitation. This can start in the hospital, within a day or two, and continue after discharge. The important thing to understand is that recovery is different for everyone and includes physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual aspects. For some people, it may take weeks or even years. Other people may never fully recover.
Med Center Health offers comprehensive post-stroke therapy on an inpatient basis at The Medical Centers at Bowling Green, Caverna, Franklin, and Scottsville. Short- and long-term rehab can also be received at Cal Turner Rehab & Specialty Care. Additionally, post-acute care physical therapy services can be received at The Medical Center at Albany.
Once a patient who has suffered a stroke is able to return home, The Medical Center at Bowling Green Home Care offers medical social services, skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services. “We strive to provide a compassionate and caring approach in the home setting,” says Shaska Hines, Clinical Manager. “Our primary focus is to educate the patient and caregivers to make a difference in the patient’s quality of life.”
Home Care does this through a tailored approach that may include assessing the home for equipment needs, identifying needed resources, continuing and advancing exercises, and medication education. Staff work with the patient to develop unique, individual goals to improve independence.
After home health, rehabilitation may continue with outpatient therapy. This may include physical, occupational and speech therapies. “Outpatient therapies advance the progress made during previous treatments,” says Emily Davenport, Rehab Manager at Bluegrass Outpatient Center in Bowling Green. “Outpatient rehab clinics offer equipment and highly-trained therapists to challenge the body in functional ways. This allows patients to return to living safely — and with more independence — in their own homes and community.” In addition to Bluegrass Outpatient Center, Med Center Health offers outpatient rehab through Orthopedics Plus Physical Therapy, which has locations in Bowling Green, Franklin, Morgantown, Russellville and Scottsville. Outpatient rehab is also available at The Medical Centers in Bowling Green, Albany, Caverna, Franklin and Scottsville.
Helping a person grow stronger in every way
The patient’s rehab team will work closely with other interdisciplinary team members — such as the family doctor, nurse practitioner, neurologist, dietitian, respiratory therapist, and/or psychiatrist — to pinpoint and treat issues that arise as a result of a stroke. All of these dedicated professionals are willing to help their patients every step of the way to recovery.
To learn more about stroke care available at Med Center Health, visit MedCenterHealth.org/stroke.
Know the signs of stroke – BE FAST!
- Balance – Have they fallen? Are they dizzy or clutching at something to steady themselves?
- Eyes – Is there a sudden loss of vision or blurring in one or both eyes?
- Face – Is one side of the face drooping or does the face look uneven?
- Arms – Is one arm weak or numb? Do they have difficulty lifting an arm?
- Speech – Is speech slurred or confused?
- Time – If you see any of the symptoms above, call 9-1-1 now! If you can, make note of the time you first noticed the symptoms start.