Pathology

A stroke is a sudden circulatory disorder in the brain. It must be treated immediately, as the death of brain cells can cause severe consequential damage to the patient.

There are different types of strokes. However, there are two main types:

Cerebral infarction - this is usually caused by a vascular occlusion, which causes an interruption or blockage of blood flow. The vessel occlusion can be caused by vascular calcification or a blood clot. 

Cerebral haemorrhage - in a cerebral haemorrhage, a blood vessel bursts and blood escapes from the bloodstream. Certain areas of the brain are no longer supplied with sufficient blood and oxygen. 

Typical clinical pictures after a stroke are, for example:

  • Difficulty speaking or writing
  • Partial or complete paralysis of one half of the body (hemiplegia)
  • Memory loss
  • Behaviour changes
  • A feeling of severe fatigue

Warning symptoms include:

  • Dizziness and sudden loss of balance
  • Loss of strength and/or sensitivity in one arm, one leg, half of the face or all of one side of the body
  • Sudden difficulty finding or expressing words (incomprehensible sentences or words)
  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye or visual field

Rehabilitation after treatment

Strokes require long-term therapy. The aim of the therapy is the return to everyday life and that the patient finds their way back to an independent life. During rehabilitation, various therapies are carried out.

Physiotherapy rehabilitation

  • Stimulate joint and muscle function
  • Promote correct muscle tone to enable better motor function
  • Promote early standing and walking
  • Promote lower limb loading
  • Work on balance and coordination
  • Work on gait and movement activities

Adapted physical activity rehabilitation

  • Optimal stimulation and exercise of impaired limbs or body side using fitness equipment and/or appropriate sports activities
  • Improve physical condition to combat post-stroke fatigue

Occupational therapy rehabilitation

  • Regain optimal independence in daily life activities: washing, dressing, cooking and shopping as well as administrative and financial tasks
  • Teach safe techniques for bed, toilet and car transfers
  • Recover reduced or lost sensitivity
  • Stimulate injured upper limb motor skills and integrate these in bi-manual activities
  • Restore functional hand movement: dexterity work, finger dissociation, precision, skill, strength and writing
  • Develop an upper limb positioning orthosis
  • Improve balance (Wii Balance Board)
  • Evaluate and set up all necessary equipment and home assistance to ensure a successful return-home transition

Neuropsychological rehabilitation

Neuropsychology makes use of preserved abilities in order to rehabilitate and/or compensate for impaired cognitive skills. It focuses on improving:

  • Memory skills
  • Executive functions (i.e., multitasking, planning daily tasks, etc.)
  • Attention disorders (i.e., speed of information processing)
  • Unilateral spatial neglect symptoms

Several approaches are used, such as:

  • Cognitive skill games
  • Specific computer software tools (RehaCom, iGerip, Cogniplus®)
  • Pencil-and-paper exercises
  • Prismatic adaptation
  • Memory notebook implementation

Speech and language therapy rehabilitation

Speech and language therapy focuses on improving speech, voice and swallowing disorders.

Diverse therapeutic activities include:

  • Oral and written expression/comprehension
  • Vocal exercises
  • Articulation exercises
  • Oral and facial motor exercises
  • Therapeutic diets (restoring nutrition, food texture adaptation, techniques to protect airway passage)

Our speech therapists implement alternative communication procedures to help patients improve family/friend interactions. Speech therapy also plays a key role in the recovery of facial paralysis.

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