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Listener Question: How Can I Help My Dad's Physical Therapy While He's Recovering from a Stroke?

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Listener Question: How Can I Help My Dad's Physical Therapy While He's Recovering from a Stroke?

Jun 28, 2017

Once an older adult goes home from the hospital after suffering a stroke, their family can be in the best position to continue the care. Randy Carson, a neuro-clinical specialist in physical therapy, describes ways family members can prepare to continue caring safely for a parent post-stroke.

Episode Transcript

Announcer: Need reliable health and wellness information? Don't listen to the guy in the cube next to you. Get it from a trusted source, straight from the doctor's mouth. Here's this week's listener question on The Scope.

Interviewer: All right, it is time for our listener question. Today, the listener question is from Renee. Her dad just had a stroke and he's going through physical therapy, and she wants to be sure that she's doing the right things to help him recover. She understands how important physical therapy is and she wants to know what to do, how to help. So we brought in an expert, Randy Carson. He is a new neuro clinical specialist in physical therapy. What can she do to help her dad?

Randy: One of the first things that we talk to people about, families especially, is to actually take care of themselves because they definitely need to be in a position where they could be helpful. So after somebody's had a stroke, they may need help with things like walking around the house, getting in a bed, and doing things like that. And while they're in rehab with us, they're in good care. So this would be the time for them to do things like get their house in order, make sure they've got the time when their dad goes home so that they can actually be in a good position to be helpful.

We do a lot of training with families right before somebody goes home to show them really great body mechanics and things like that so they don't get injured, a lot of good safety things that we teach them about how to assist, in her case her father, so that he wouldn't have a fall or put himself in more harm's way, and definitely, a lot of education on prevention of secondary risk factors so that you don't end up back in the hospital too.

Interviewer: Yeah. That surprised me a little bit. I guess I didn't see that answer coming. I thought your answer is going to be more along the lines of, "While he's doing his exercises, you can do this, this, and this."

Randy: People make tremendous progress while they're in the hospital. So if they're involved a lot and really early on, for one, they usually burn out by the end of the stay if they're there three or four weeks, because that's a long time to be on you're A-game the whole time. And then, the other thing is they're overwhelmed because who they see on the first day in rehab is going to be dramatically different on the person that they take home.

So we don't do a lot of training in the beginning, because that's when they're at their worst. They might need a lot of lifting assistance, they might be a super high risk for fall, and that's the best time to let us take care of them and try to improve them to a point where they can be very manageable to take home.

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