What is CVA?
A CVA (cerebrovascular accident) is a stroke, which injures the brain and can affect physical, mental, and emotional functions. Many patients who suffer a stroke have some type of disability as a result, which will depend on the size and location of the stroke. Disability may include mood disorders, visual defects, speech problems, cognitive deficits, decreased mobility, weakness, and neurological problems.
Major risk factors for stroke include: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and TIAs ( transient ischemic attacks). Secondary risk factors include elevated cholesterol and lipid levels, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and physical inactivity.
How can physical and occupational therapy help?
It is important to begin therapy as soon as possible after a stroke, for the greatest likelihood of recovery and adaptation. Most functional improvement after stroke occurs in the first three to six months of rehabilitation.
What can I expect from PT/OT?
Since stroke damage varies depending on severity, each patient’s plan of care will be customized to his or her needs. At the beginning of the program, our therapist will assess the patient’s level of function, and develop a plan of care. Goals for stroke rehabilitation may include:
- Regaining balance and coordination
- Reducing dependence on care givers for daily living activities (bathing and dressing)
- Developing exercise programs to improve mobility and strength
- Relearning the use of language or finding different ways to communicate
- Gait training, with possible use of assistive device
- Relearning use of arm or hand, if affected, for fine motor skills