Occupational Therapy for Stroke Patients

There is a widespread tendency in the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered a stroke to focus attention on problems which can actually be seen. Failure to recognize the problems which we cannot see directly will lead to disappointment and frustration for therapist and patient in the rehabilitation programme. Success is dependent on the recognition of the problems and the inclusion of specific therapy to overcome the difficulties arising from them. Let's know what is Stroke? Stroke is the term used to describe the effects of an interruption of the blood supply to a localised area of the brain. The brain is the nerve centre of the body, controlling everything we do or think, as well as controlling automatic functions like breathing. In order to work, the brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. These are carried to the brain by blood through the arteries. If part of the brain is deprived of blood, brain cells are damaged or die. This causes a number of different effects, depending on the part of the brain affected and the amount of damage to brain tissue.

Let's have a look on the word "hemiplegia" itself emphasises these problems with its original meaning- a paralysis of half (of the body) which is main features of the stroke. Stroke can also cause various other major problems, e.g. Sensory motor disturbance, cognitive perceptual deficits, psychosocial problems etc which have a great impact of the functions of an individual. It's absolute, that many professional can help a stroke patient for their rehabilitation, e.g. Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech & Language Therapist, Counselor etc. This piece of writing is from Occupational Therapy point of view where Occupational therapist's most important aim is to make a patient independent in his or her activities of daily living. To start a rehabilitation program with a stroke patient Occupational Therapist go behind "OT Process".

Briefly, Occupational Therapy (OT) process starts from identifying problem, deciding treatment plan, implementing treatment and evaluation. Often therapist does home visit to complete the final stage of rehabilitation.

Occupational Therapist manages a patient holistically. Few intervention strategies are, educating the patient normal movement sequence & balance reactions, avoiding abnormal movement patterns in hemiplegia, teaching the patient proper positioning and transferring, normalizing postural tone, reeducation of functional walking and encouraging the return of activity in various parts of the body (Activities of Daily Living Training) etc. Occupational Therapist uses a range of types of treatment approaches, few are- Bobath approach, Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), Movement therapy, Compensatory approach, Rehabilitation approach, Adaptation approach and Cognitive behavioural approach etc.

Deep down inside everyone knows that a stroke is one of the devastating traumas to the whole personality that it is dreadful blow to the person directly affected and to his family and friends as well. By following strategy and approach mentioned above, a stroke patient can be completely independent in his or her life. To get Occupational Therapy service you can contact with CRP Occupational Therapy department.

The author is an Occupational Therapist, Lecturer & Clinician.

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