Despite our best efforts, many people who have had a stroke will have significant disability. The goal of rehabilitation is to improve those disabilities and to learn how to live with any disability that is left behind.
During the hospital stay, stroke patients are seen by therapists who work on speech, swallowing, strength training, balance and walking, and fine motor skills. Rehabilitation continues this much more intensively. Patients will spend several hours a day working on improving their function, with the goal to be as independent as possible after going home.
Rehab helps people start working on the basic tasks we all do every day. This includes bathing, eating and cooking for some, or even more basic tasks such as speaking, swallowing and moving arms and legs for others.
A major goal of rehabilitation is to help people be as independent as possible and then go home, but for some that is not always realistic. Rehabilitation will then focus on improving patient function as much as possible to make life more enjoyable in whatever living arrangements are then needed.