For Patients and Families

If you are or if your relative is… Someone who recently had a stroke

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a type of injury to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood does not flow to an area of the brain. The blood flow may be stopped by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), or by a blood clot or blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke). This limits oxygen and nutrients to the affected part of the brain. This causes injury or death to the cells in the affected area of the brain. Other cells are trying to take over for these death cells through a process called neuroplasticity which is favored by rehabilitation.

Click here to visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website for more information including causes, types, symptoms and effects of stroke.

How will a stroke effect the body?

The effect of the stroke on the body depends on what part of the brain was injured and how much injury to the brain occurred. A stroke can cause weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the body. Muscle weakness to the face, arms and legs can result in problems with speech and communication, swallowing, moving and using your hands, or walking and balance. Damage to the brain from a stroke can also affect brain functions such as memory, thinking and problems solving. For some people, stroke causes also what we call invisible deficits such as fatigue, irritability or depression.

Every stroke is different, but most require rehabilitation. In this website, we present information on the stroke consequences as well as treatment options which may be offered as part of rehabilitation.

Why is arm and leg weakness associated with a stroke?

Damage to one side of the brain causes difficulties with movements on the other side of the body. A person who has had a stroke on the left side of the brain may have difficulty moving the right side of the body. Many individuals who have had a stroke experience muscle weakness (hemiparesis) or loss of movement (hemiplegia) on one side of their body. This can affect their ability to use the arm on that side of the body. Muscle weakness or loss of movement can make it difficult to do everyday activities.

Some of the effective therapies to improve arm weakness in the early phase of recovery include:

Constraint-induced movement therapy

Functional Electrical Stimulation (Hemiplegic Shoulder) 

Functional Electrical Stimulation (Upper Extremity)

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Task-oriented training (Upper Extremity)

The viatherapy app also provides useful information to rehab professionals about stroke interventions for arm recovery. Please share this information with your rehab professional and discuss if it is suitable for you.

Some of the effective therapies to improve leg weakness in the early phase of recovery include:

Biofeedback (Lower Extremity)

Electromechanical Gait Trainers

Functional Electrical Stimulation (Lower Extremity)

Strength training

Virtual Reality (Lower Extremity)

What is shoulder subluxation and why is it associated with stroke?

Shoulder subluxation occurs when the large bone of the upper arm (called the humerus) separates from the shoulder socket. It is common in patients who have hemiplegia after stroke. Shoulder subluxation can cause a lot of pain and can impact on movement of the arm. It is very important to consider safe and comfortable positioning of the body and arm, to avoid further shoulder pain and injury. Shoulder subluxation can be treated using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

Here is more information on Functional Electrical Stimulation (Hemiplegic Shoulder).

Why is facial paralysis associated with stroke?

Stroke can cause weakness in the muscles of the face. This is called facial paralysis. It is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls the muscles of the face. Facial paralysis can affect the ability to move one side of the face. This can in turn, impact on tasks such as eating, drinking and talking.

Why are communication difficulties associated with stroke?

Some individuals find it difficult to communicate or use language after a stroke. This is referred to as aphasiaAphasia is common in people who have had a stroke on the left side of their brain. There are several different types of aphasia and the symptoms depend on which area of the brain was affected. Aphasia can affect the ability to speak (i.e. say words and sentences, see Broca’s aphasia), or the ability to understand what other people are saying (see Wernicke’s aphasia). Aphasia can also affect the ability to read and write (see anomic aphasia). Aphasia can range from mild to severe. It can be very frustrating for individuals who cannot communicate their needs, feelings or thoughts to other people.

Watch this video about aphasia from the National Aphasia Association.

Visit the Aphasia Institute of Canada for more information on aphasia including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and personal stories.

Why are swallowing difficulties associated with stroke?

Some people may have difficulty swallowing after a stroke. This is called dysphagia. Stroke can cause damage to the area of the brain that controls nerves and muscles of the lips, cheek, tongue, throat and oesophagus. These muscles are used to move, chew and swallow food. Paralysis of these muscles can cause aspiration or pneumonia. Stroke can also cause damage to the area of the brain that controls sensation. This can affect the ability to taste flavours, feel different food textures, or identify the temperature of foods or drinks. Dysphagia may cause difficulty or discomfort when eating and drinking.

What is Unilateral Spatial Neglect and why is it associated with stroke?

Unilateral spatial neglect (USN) refers to a tendency to neglect things to one side of the body. This is common following stroke. After a stroke the individual may appear to neglect one side of the body or may have difficulty seeing objects on one side of the body. It is more common among individuals who had the stroke on the right side of their brain.

A stroke on one side of the brain causes neglect on the other side of the body. For instance, a person who had a stroke on the right side of the brain will tend to ignore or neglect things in the left visual field. So, someone who has paralysis in the left arm or leg muscles may also tend to neglect things to the left of his/her body.

Unilateral Spatial Neglect is also called Hemispatial Neglect. This condition can be treated.

Here is more information on Unilateral Spatial Neglect.

What is cognition and why is it associated with stroke?

Cognition refers to thinking processes such as memory, orientation, perception, reasoning and judgement. Stroke can cause damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for cognition. This can result in problems with thinking, attention, learning, judgement and memory. Some individuals may appear disoriented or easily confused. They may have difficulty understanding or remembering information. This can be very frustrating for the individual and his/her relatives. Cognitive difficulties can impact on the person’s relationships, work and leisure, independence and recovery after stroke. There are different treatments that aim to improve memory, attention and other cognitive skills after stroke.

Here is more information on Cognitive Rehabilitation.

Executive functions are complex skills that help to manage attention and behaviour. Executive function skills are necessary for self-care, leisure and work tasks. Executive function skills enable us to solve problems, plan and organise tasks, pay attention to one or more tasks, and organise our thinking. Executive functions can be affected by a stroke. There are different treatments that aim to improve executive function skills.

Here is more information on Executive Function and treatments for executive function.

Why are balance difficulties associated with stroke?

Stroke can affect the systems of the body and areas of the brain that are responsible for balance. Side effects of stroke (e.g. hemiparesis, perceptual problems, spatial neglect) or side effects of medication can also affect balance. After a stroke, some individuals may feel dizzy or unsteady on their feet. They may have difficulty keeping their balance when sitting, standing and walking. Some individuals may be prone to falls and will need help when transferring from one position to another (e.g. moving from the bed to a chair).

A health professional will recommend safe positions for the people with balance difficulties. The health professional may suggest assistive devices to help the person when sitting, standing and moving. Assistive devices are pieces of equipment that you use to make daily activities easier and/or safer to perform. A health professional may provide Balance Training to improve balance after a stroke.

Here is more information on Balance Training.

What about driving?

It is recommended to stop driving for at least one month following stroke. After that one-month period, it is important for your safety and the safety of others to have your driving readiness assessed by a professional. Some people will not be able to drive after a stroke. Others will be able to drive again following a training.

Here is more information about driving after a stroke.

What about mood changes?

Depression is common after a stroke. Depression can affect the individual’s mood, thoughts, health and recovery. The person might have mood swings, or may feel angry, helpless, tired or hopeless. The person may have difficulty expressing how he/she feels. It is important to identify and manage depression after a stroke.

Here is more information about depression after a stroke.

What about fatigue?

Fatigue is also common after a stroke. It is not determined by the type or severity of stroke. Fatigue after a stroke can be physical (e.g. tired after doing physical activity), cognitive (e.g. tired after an activity that requires attention and thinking) or emotional (e.g. tired after difficult social interactions). There are ways of managing fatigue after stroke.

Here is more information about fatigue after stroke.

What about sexuality?

Sexuality is a common concern after stroke. Many wonders if they can have sex again, when or if it increases the risks of another stroke. Don’t hesitate to discuss your specific concerns about sexuality with a health professional.

Here is more information about sexuality after stroke.

What about the family?

A stroke can be very stressful for the individual and his/her relatives. It is recommended to include relatives in the recovery process. Knowledge of stroke can help family members cope and support the individual who have had a stroke. The hospital may offer resources such as written information or a family support clinician (e.g. a social worker) to support the patient and family members during the initial recovery process. Family and carers may also benefit from support groups and group education programs. Family members should be considered part of the interdisciplinary team as they have a dual role: one as providing support but also needing to receive support, information and training themselves. If you are a family member, don’t hesitate to ask for information, training and support to all members of the interdisciplinary team.

Here is more information about family support in the acute stage of stroke recovery.

Here is information about stroke recovery for caregivers from Stroke Recovery Canada.

What happens next?

Stroke rehabilitation begins when the patient is medically stable. The recovery process will depend on the type of stroke, the severity of the stroke, and the health care system available to the patient. The medical, nursing and allied health teams will follow a care pathway to provide the best medical care for the patient and family.

The first month after a stroke is called the acute stage of recovery. In the first few weeks after a stroke the individual may recover lost functions such as speech, swallowing, movement and/or thinking skills. Most patients will begin the rehabilitation (or ‘rehab’) process soon after the stroke. The patient should begin rehab as soon as he/she is medically stable. Rehab will help the brain repair, to support recovery of these skills. Rehab will involve exercises and tasks to accomplish as proposed by health professionals such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech language pathologist. Rehab professionals will assess the patient to propose what rehabilitation program and activities will best help the patient regain those skills that were affected by the stroke.

This Stroke Engine website provides information about the best current research and treatment methods for stroke rehabilitation. The information is based on scientific evidence from reliable research sources. It includes information for rehab professionals about the most suitable stroke assessments and treatments for patients.

The Stroke Engine website also provides information for patients and families. Please visit our Stroke Consequences and Stroke Interventions pages. You can access these from the Stroke Engine home page. Simply choose the stroke consequence or intervention you are interested in, then select the Patient Information tab on the left hand side of the page. You will find information about the stroke concern or intervention, effective treatment, and how to access the intervention. You can print this information to read, or share and discuss with your family members or rehab professionals.

Recovery from stroke is different for each individual. Recovery and rehab can take many months or years. Rehab can start when the person is in hospital (‘in-patient), and continues when the individual moves to a stroke unit or rehabilitation centre, or when he/she leaves hospital (‘out-patient’). In some instances, rehab can also be offered at home. Rehab can be a program that is delivered in a health care setting (e.g. in hospital, rehabilitation unit or community clinic), or it can be a set of exercises prescribed to the individual by his/her health professionals. The rehab professionals will choose interventions that are most suitable for the person.

Here is more information on rehabilitation after stroke

Here is information on secondary stroke prevention.

Here is information on stroke recovery from the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.

Where can I get more information?

Here are some other useful stroke websites:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.ca)

Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery (www.canadianstroke.ca)

Canadian guidelines for stroke (www.strokebestpractices.ca/)

American Stroke Association (www.stroke.org)

The Internet Stroke Center (www.strokecenter.org)

The Stroke Foundation (www.strokefoundation.org.au and https://enableme.org.au/)

If you are or if your relative is… Starting rehabilitation

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a type of injury to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood does not flow to an area of the brain. The blood flow may be stopped by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), or by a blood clot or blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke). This limits oxygen and nutrients to the affected part of the brain. This causes injury or death to the cells in the affected area of the brain.

Here is more information about stroke and the acute stage of stroke recovery. [link to StrokEngine Family > Acute stage of stroke recovery]

Click here to visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website for more information including causes, types, symptoms and effects of stroke.

What is stroke rehabilitation?

Stroke rehabilitation (also called stroke rehab) is the medical and therapy program to help individuals who have had a stroke and their relatives recover from stroke. A rehabilitation team is typically made up of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and therapists – physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists and social workers. In some settings, it may also include other discipline such as recreation therapists, kinesiologists, etc.

Rehabilitation can start as soon as the individual’s medical condition is stable. Rehab professionals will use a number of assessments including interview, tests and observations to decide with the individual and his/her relative how to best help recovery following the stroke. They will then put together a rehabilitation program to help regain the skills that were affected by the stroke, or learn to adapt to the difficulties they have as a result of the stroke. Recovery and rehab can take many months or years. Rehab can start when the individual is in hospital (‘in-patient), and continues when the one moves to a stroke unit or rehabilitation centre, or when he/she leaves hospital (‘out-patient’). In some instances, rehab can also be offered at home or by telerehabilitation. Rehab can be a program that is delivered in a health care setting (e.g. in hospital, rehabilitation unit or community clinic), or it can be a set of exercises prescribed to the individual by his/her health professionals. The rehab professionals will choose interventions that are most suitable for the specific situation of the individual and his/her relative.

Recovery from stroke is different for each individual. The individual’s recovery process – and the rehabilitation program – will depend on various factors including the type of stroke, the severity of the stroke, and the health care system available.

Here is information on stroke recovery from the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.

Do I need stroke rehabilitation?

Every stroke is different, but most individuals require rehabilitation after a stroke. The effect of the stroke on the body depends on what part of the brain was injured and how much injury to the brain occurred. A stroke can cause weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the body. Muscle weakness to the face, arms and legs can result in problems with speech and communication, swallowing, moving and using your hands, or walking and balance. Damage to the brain from a stroke can also affect brain functions such as memory, thinking and problems solving. For some people, stroke can also cause invisible problems such as fatigue, irritability or depression. In the first few weeks after a stroke the individual may recover spontaneously some functions and skills. Stroke rehabilitation will target the ongoing difficulties the individual and his/her relatives are having after the stroke.

The StrokEngine website has information on the stroke consequences as well as treatment options which may be offered as part of rehabilitation.

The viatherapy app also provides useful information to rehab professionals about stroke interventions for arm recovery. Please share this information with your rehab professional and discuss if it is suitable for you.

What about the family?

A stroke can be very stressful for the individual and family members. The person’s loved ones should be included in the recovery process. Knowledge of stroke can help family members cope, provide them with support and help them further support their loved one. The hospital may offer resources such as written information or a family support clinician or social worker to support the individual and family members during the initial recovery process. Family and carers may also benefit from support groups and group education programs. Family members should be considered part of the interdisciplinary team as they have a dual role: one as providing support but also needing to receive support, information and training themselves. If you are a family member, don’t hesitate to ask for information, training and support to all members of the interdisciplinary team.

Here is information about stroke recovery for caregivers from Stroke Recovery Canada.

Where can I find more information?

This Stroke Engine website provides information about the best current research and treatment methods for stroke rehabilitation. The information is based on scientific evidence from reliable research sources. It includes information for rehab professionals about the most suitable stroke assessments and treatments for patients.

The Stroke Engine website also provides information for individual who had a stroke and families. Please visit our Stroke Consequences and Stroke Interventions pages. You can access these from the Stroke Engine home page. Simply choose the stroke consequence or intervention you are interested in, then select the Patient Information tab on the left hand side of the page. You will find information about the stroke concern or intervention, effective treatment, and how to access the intervention. You can print this information to read, or share and discuss with your family members or rehab professionals.

Here is information on secondary stroke prevention.

Here are some other useful stroke websites:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.ca)

Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery (http://www.canadianstroke.ca)

Canadian guidelines for stroke (www.strokebestpractices.ca)

American Stroke Association (www.stroke.org)

The Internet Stroke Center (www.strokecenter.org)

The Stroke Foundation (www.strokefoundation.org.au)

Enable Me (https://enableme.org.au)

If you are or if your relative is… Leaving the hospital soon

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a type of injury to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood does not flow to an area of the brain. The blood flow may be stopped by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), or by a blood clot or blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke). This limits oxygen and nutrients to the affected part of the brain. This causes injury or death to the cells in the affected area of the brain.

Click here to visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website for more information on stroke.

I’m leaving hospital, do I still need stroke rehabilitation?

Stroke rehabilitation (also called stroke rehab) is the medical and therapy program to help individuals who have had a stroke and their relatives recover from stroke. Every stroke is different, but most individuals require rehabilitation after a stroke. The effect of the stroke on the body depends on what part of the brain was injured and how much injury to the brain occurred. A stroke can cause weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the body. Muscle weakness to the face, arms and legs can result in problems with speech and communication, swallowing, moving and using your hands, or walking and balance. Damage to the brain from a stroke can also affect brain functions such as memory, thinking and problems solving. For some people, stroke can also cause invisible problems such as fatigue, irritability or depression.

Recovery from a stroke can take many months or years. Some individuals are prescribed ongoing rehabilitation after leaving hospital. Rehab will help the individual and his/her relatives adjust to living at home after the stroke. It is important to continue with the prescribed program even after leaving hospital, to maintain any gains made since the stroke. Rehabilitation can be delivered in a health care setting (e.g. community clinic), or it can be a set of exercises for the individual to do at home.

The StrokEngine website has information on the stroke consequences as well as treatment options which may be offered as part of rehabilitation.

The viatherapy app also provides useful information to rehab professionals about stroke interventions for arm recovery. Please share this information with your rehab professional and discuss if it is suitable for you.

Can I go back to the activities I enjoyed before the stroke?

Returning to home and social activities after a stroke may take some adjustment. The side effects of stroke can make it difficult to return to hobbies, sports and activities. Leisure activities are very important to our well-being and quality of life. Leisure and social activities are good for maintaining and improving physical health and mental health. This in turn helps the recovery process. Health professionals can help the individual return to activities, by:

  • regaining skills for hobbies the individual enjoyed before the stroke,
  • adapting activities so that the person can return to his/her interests,
  • finding new or different activities for the individual to enjoy, and/or
  • connecting with local community resources.

 Here is more information about returning to leisure activities after stroke.

What are assistive devices and do I need one?

Assistive devices are pieces of equipment that make daily activities easier to perform. A health care professional may prescribe an assistive device when an individual is leaving hospital and returning home. The assistive device can be useful for the individual to regain independence in everyday activities and to make leisure activities more manageable. Mobility aides such as a quad walker, walking stick, roller walker or wheelchair can help regain walking skills and independence.

Click here for more information on assistive devices.

What about driving?

It is recommended to stop driving for at least one month following stroke. After that one-month period, it is important to have your driving readiness assessed by a professional, for your safety and the safety of others. Some people will not be able to drive after a stroke. Others will be able to drive again with training.

Here is more information about driving after a stroke.

What about sexual activity?

 Problems with sexual activity are common after a stroke. This can be due to a number of physical and/or emotional reasons caused by the stroke. Your health care professional can talk with you about this, and can answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Here is more information about sexual activity after stroke.

Why is urinary incontinence associated with stroke?

Urinary incontinence can result directly from stroke, side effects of stroke (e.g. movement, language, cognitive or sensory difficulties), and side effects of some medication. In most cases urinary incontinence can be treated or managed.

Click here for more information on urinary incontinence.

What about mood changes?

Depression is common after a stroke. Depression can affect the individual’s mood, thoughts, health and recovery. The person might have mood swings, or may feel angry, helpless, tired or hopeless. The person may have difficulty expressing how he/she feels. It is important to identify and manage depression after a stroke.

Here is more information about depression after a stroke.

What about fatigue?

Fatigue is also common after a stroke. It is not determined by the type or severity of stroke. Fatigue after a stroke can be physical (e.g. tired after doing physical activity), mental (e.g. tired after an activity that requires attention and thinking) or emotional (e.g. tired after difficult social interactions). There are ways of managing fatigue after stroke.

Here is more information about fatigue after stroke.

What about the family?

A stroke can be very stressful for the individual and his/her family members. The person’s loved ones should be included in the recovery process. Knowledge of stroke can help family members cope, provide them with support and help them further support their loved one. The hospital may offer resources such as written information or a family support clinician or social worker to support the individual and family members during the initial recovery process. Family and carers may also benefit from support groups and group education programs. Family members should be considered part of the recovery team as they have a dual role in providing support but also needing support, information and training themselves. If you are a family member, don’t hesitate to ask for information, training and support from all members of the rehab team.

Click here to visit the Stroke Recovery Canada website for more information about stroke recovery for caregivers.

How can we avoid another stroke?

Unfortunately, the risk of having a stroke increases after a first stroke. If a second stroke does occur it will not necessarily occur in the same area of the brain as the first stroke, and so it could have different effects than the first stroke.

There are some uncontrollable stroke risk factors, such as age (over 60), gender, family history of stroke, ethnicity, and a previous incidence of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Preventable risk factors include blood pressure, blood cholesterol, heart disease, type II diabetes, body weight, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, smoking and stress.

Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, ceasing smoking, diet changes and reducing stress can reduce the risk of a second stroke.

Click here for more information on secondary stroke prevention.

Click here for information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation on stroke prevention and risk factors.

Click here for information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation on stroke warning signs.

Where can I find more information?

This Stroke Engine website provides information about the best current research and treatment methods for stroke rehabilitation. The information is based on scientific evidence from reliable research sources. It includes information for rehab professionals about the most suitable stroke assessments and treatments.

The Stroke Engine website also provides information for individuals who had a stroke and their families. Please visit our Stroke Consequences and Stroke Interventions pages. You can access these from the Stroke Engine home page. Simply choose the stroke consequence or intervention you are interested in, then select the Patient Information tab on the left hand side of the page. You will find information about the stroke concern or intervention, effective treatment, and how to access the intervention. You can print this information to read, or share and discuss with your family members or rehab professionals.

Here are some other useful stroke websites:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.ca)

Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery (http://www.canadianstroke.ca)

Canadian guidelines for stroke (www.strokebestpractices.ca)

American Stroke Association (www.stroke.org)

The Internet Stroke Center (www.strokecenter.org)

The Stroke Foundation (www.strokefoundation.org.au)

Enable Me (https://enableme.org.au)

If you are or if your relative is… Living with stroke

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a type of injury to the brain. A stroke occurs when blood does not flow to an area of the brain. The blood flow may be stopped by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), or by a blood clot or blocked blood vessel (ischemic stroke). This limits oxygen and nutrients to the affected part of the brain. This causes injury or death to the cells in the affected area of the brain.

Click here to visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website for more information on stroke.

I had a stroke over 6 months ago. Is there anything new in the treatment of stroke?

Many individuals who have had a stroke experience long-term muscle weakness (hemiparesis) or loss of movement (hemiplegia) on one side of their body. This can affect the use of their arm or leg, their balance, as well as potential difficulties with swallowing and communication (aphasia). A stroke can also contribute to ongoing difficulties participating in leisure activities as well as driving issues, anxiety engaging in sexual relationships, or mood disturbances such as depression and fatigue. Stroke rehabilitation can help the individual regain the skills that were affected by the stroke, or learn to adapt to the difficulties they have as a result of the stroke. Many interventions show benefits in the chronic phase of stroke. Please visit our Stroke Consequences and Stroke Interventions pages to learn about know effectiveness of various interventions. You can access these from the Stroke Engine home page.

The StrokEngine website has information on the stroke consequences as well as treatment options which may be offered as part of rehabilitation.

The viatherapy app also provides useful information to rehab professionals about stroke interventions for arm recovery. Please share this information with your rehab professional and discuss if it is suitable for you.

Click here to watch a YouTube video on stroke recovery from the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.

What about the family?

A stroke can be very stressful for the individual and his/her family members. The person’s loved ones should be included in the recovery process. Knowledge of stroke can help family members cope, provide them with support and help them further support their loved one. The hospital may offer resources such as written information or a family support clinician or social worker to support the individual and family members during the initial recovery process. Family and carers may also benefit from support groups and group education programs. Family members should be considered part of the recovery team as they have a dual role in providing support but also needing support, information and training themselves. If you are a family member, don’t hesitate to ask for information, training and support from all members of the rehab team.

Click here to visit the Stroke Recovery Canada website for more information about stroke recovery for caregivers.

What are assistive devices and do I need one?

Assistive devices are pieces of equipment that make daily activities easier to perform. A health care professional may prescribe an assistive device when an individual is leaving hospital and returning home. The assistive device can be useful for the individual to regain independence in everyday activities. Mobility aides such as a quad walker, walking stick, roller walker or wheelchair can help regain walking skills and independence.

Click here for more information on assistive devices.

How can we avoid another stroke?

Unfortunately, the risk of having a stroke increases after a first stroke. If a second stroke does occur it will not necessarily occur in the same area of the brain as the first stroke, and so it could have different effects than the first stroke.

There are some uncontrollable stroke risk factors, such as age (over 60), gender, family history of stroke, ethnicity, and a previous incidence of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Preventable risk factors include blood pressure, blood cholesterol, heart disease, type II diabetes, body weight, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, smoking and stress.

Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, ceasing smoking, diet changes and reducing stress can reduce the risk of a second stroke.

Click here for more information on secondary stroke prevention.

Click here for information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation on stroke prevention and risk factors.

Click here for information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation on stroke warning signs.

Where can I find more information?

This Stroke Engine website provides information about the best current research and treatment methods for stroke rehabilitation. The information is based on scientific evidence from reliable research sources. It includes information for rehab professionals about the most suitable stroke assessments and treatments.

The Stroke Engine website also provides information for individuals who had a stroke and their families. Please visit our Stroke Consequences and Stroke Interventions pages. You can access these from the Stroke Engine home page. Simply choose the stroke consequence or intervention you are interested in, then select the Patient Information tab on the left hand side of the page. You will find information about the stroke concern or intervention, effective treatment, and how to access the intervention. You can print this information to read, or share and discuss with your family members or rehab professionals.

Here is information on secondary stroke prevention.

Here are some other useful stroke websites:

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.ca)

Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery (http://www.canadianstroke.ca)

Canadian guidelines for stroke (www.strokebestpractices.ca)

American Stroke Association (www.stroke.org)

The Internet Stroke Center (www.strokecenter.org)

The Stroke Foundation (www.strokefoundation.org.au)

Enable Me (https://enableme.org.au)

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