Strokes: Signs, Rehabilitation, and Risk Reduction

Strokes: Signs, Rehabilitation, and Risk Reduction

What is a Stroke?

When talking about strokes, many refer to what’s known as an ischemic stroke. Accounting for nearly 80% of all strokes, an ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel (leading to the brain) becomes blocked, cutting off blood flow to certain parts of the brain. An interruption of blood flow means that the brain no longer receives its required supply of oxygen, and after just a minute without oxygen and other essential nutrients, brain cells can begin to die.

The other common type of stroke, known as a hemorrhagic stroke (which accounts for 20% of all strokes), occurs when blood spills into the brain, damaging neural cells. More often than not, this type of stroke happens when an aneurysm – a weak, stretched area in the arterial wall – bursts open due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Signs of Stroke

As you can surmise, every second matters when it comes to stroke occurrence. Even if brain cells don’t die right away, they may be permanently damaged if treatment is not administered quickly enough. The challenge is that not all strokes affect the brain in the same way, which can make recognising signs somewhat difficult. Depending on the type of stroke, the signs may be quite subtle – especially for seniors, who suffer from strokes more than any other age group.

Below are signs you or your senior loved one will want to look for. Everyone in close contact with him or her should also understand the signs so that they know when to seek emergency medical assistance.

  • Confusion or sudden changes in behavior
  • Partial loss of vision
  • Sudden trouble walking and/or dizziness
  • Sudden loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding others
  • Onset of weakness or paralysis of any part of the body
  • Double vision

If you notice any of these signs in your ageing loved one, do not second guess or wait for symptoms to worsen. As noted above, it’s imperative that contact with emergency personnel is made quickly, before damage to the brain becomes irreversible. For most treatments to be effective, the affected individual must be diagnosed within three hours of onset, and get to the hospital within an hour’s time.

Rehabilitation

The amount of rehabilitation needed depends largely on the extent of damage from a stroke, but in most cases medical professionals will recommend at least one type of therapy or a combination. Physical therapy will help patients relearn simple motor activates – from walking to lying down – through training exercises. Another beneficial rehabilitation practice is occupational therapy, which is a way of helping patients relearn activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and reading/writing. Speech therapy may also be recommended to help patients rebuild communication skills.

As many strokes are caused by hypertension, doctors may also prescribe medications to help maintain normal blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of blood clot formation.

Risk Reduction

In the last few decades, the survival rate for strokes has increased. In fact, the American Heart Association reports that stroke, which once ranked fourth in leading causes of deaths in the United State, now ranks fifth. While increased knowledge of warning signs and effective treatment surely account for this, education on recommended lifestyle changes has also helped.

Here are a few guidelines your loved one can follow to help reduce his or her risk of a stroke:

  • Manage blood pressure
  • Minimize stress (through healthy outlets)
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit consumption of alcohol
  • Exercise regularly (upon physician approval)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Modify diet to include foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium
  • Manage cholesterol levels (consult your physician for options)

Risk reduction begins with leading a healthy lifestyle. Even if there’s a family history of stroke occurrence, encourage your ageing loved one to follow these guidelines. Be sure that he or she also schedules regular medical check-ups with a medical professional to identify other risk factors and prevention strategies.

Prestige Nursing + Care Can Help

Our goal is to see that your loved one has the means to live a happy, healthy, independent life. And as part of that goal, we work to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Our caregivers can prepare nutritious meals, encourage prescribed physical activity, and even take your loved to any scheduled appointments. Call your local office today to discuss our available services.

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We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your nurse-led care needs.


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Jobs FAQs

What shifts or rotas are available for professional carers?

Our branches have a wide variety of hours and rotas which means it’s possible to find shifts that fit in with your life situation, whether you want a full time role or are just looking for a few hours a week. All that we ask is that you commit to the hours you can do two weeks in advance.

Do I need care experience to join?

Six months’ professional care experience is ideal - such as a domiciliary carer, care assistant, homecare worker, support worker or healthcare assistant. However, if you are new to care some branches do offer training leading to care certificates, so please contact the recruitment team to discuss on 0808 239 9716.

Do I need a driving licence?

A full clean driving is required for some roles, but not all. Job roles normally state if a driving licence is required, but if you are unsure then please contact the recruitment team on 0808 239 9716.

What pre-employment checks do you do?

To join Prestige Nursing & Care as a professional carer you will be required to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, unless you are registered with the update service.

We can help you apply via your local branch. When you work with children and vulnerable adults a DBS check is a legal requirement. Find out more about DBS checks: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about.

We also require two professional references, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.

Finally, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK, NI number, ID and proof of address. Your recruiter will talk you through all requirements and support you all the way.

What training do I need to complete before starting work?

You will need to complete both online e-learning modules and virtual training via Microsoft Teams. This is very flexible and can be completed from home as long as you have a compatible device. Find out more about the training we offer.

Is the training free?

Yes, the training is completely free.

Do you offer regular patterns of work?

Yes, our branches offer a wide variety of hours and shift patterns.

Will I be employed by Prestige Nursing & Care?

You would become a member of our team with a contract for services. You would be eligible for things like SSP and holiday, as well as a NEST workplace pension.

How old do you have to be to work as a carer?

You need to be 18 years old to join our care team and there is no upper age limit.

How often will I get paid?

We pay all our professional carers weekly.