I’m going home after a stroke – now what?

I’m going home after a stroke – now what?

Every 45 seconds someone in America has a stroke. Every 45 seconds someone’s life changes unexpectedly.

If you or a loved one has had a stroke, you’re probably familiar with the range of emotions this diagnosis brings and how critical it is to feel supported throughout the recovery process.

“No one is ever truly prepared for these life changes,” says Dr. Demetrius Lopes, neurosurgeon and medical director of Advocate Aurora Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. “Those of us dedicated to caring for stroke patients are committed to creating personalized guides to support them through what lies ahead in the smoothest way possible. It’s a new learning experience and we are here to help.”

Post-stroke care, in most cases, requires a combination of medicine, rehab and lifestyle adjustments. Stroke navigators and patient liaisons play a key role in the care of a stroke patient. They chart long-term home-care plans in addition to caring for them during their hospital treatment and rehabilitation.

Stroke patients receive supportive services with scheduling follow-up visits; guidance to organize post-care treatments, diet, and therapy plans; and a listening ear to ask questions about the changes they may be experiencing at home. Stroke navigators also monitor a stroke patient’s overall health, especially heart and vascular conditions, which are important to prevent additional strokes from occurring.

“Stroke patients are unique, and in many cases, on paper, are a success story,” says Lopes. “It is common for patients’ labs and the National Institute of Health’s Stroke Scale to show normal levels, yet patients are experiencing lingering, residual effects like fatigue, deficit episodic vertigo or memory loss – to name a few.”

He encourages everyone to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and remember to BE FAST.

If you or a loved one are worried about risk factors, please take the Stroke Risk Assessment and talk to your medical team about your concerns, family history and preventive measures.

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Michelle Schuerman

Michelle is a 20-year veteran in the health and human services industry. Throughout her career, she has helped families navigate community and educational resources, supported children in foster care to successfully transition to adulthood, and advocated alongside survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Michelle donated her kidney to her best friend’s father in 2014 and ever since has been an avid supporter of organ donation. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and friends at the beach, pool and live concerts.