How the right environment can improve stroke recovery

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a stroke. Prompt recognition of symptoms (numbness on one side of the body, face drooping, difficulty speaking) and getting immediate medical care are critical. Otherwise, the consequences may be fatal.

But for many, surviving a stroke is just the first significant hurdle. Stroke recovery is often a long and difficult process for everyone involved. The aftermath of a stroke can leave someone with impaired motor and speaking function, memory loss and even problems eating or swallowing. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. That’s why choosing the right stroke rehabilitation center is vital for a successful recovery.

Look for certification

The best way to ensure you or your loved one gets quality care is by going to a stroke center that is a Primary Stroke Center certified by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). HFAP is a nationally recognized accreditation organization aimed at advancing patient care and safety. A hospital with an HFAP certification is considered to be the “gold standard” of quality patient care and must meet and exceed rigorous guidelines for patient safety, quality improvement and environmental safety. But always remember that if a stroke is suspected, the most important step is to get to the CLOSEST, most appropriate emergency facility as quickly as and patient

Being HFAP certified also means the hospital has demonstrated a clear commitment to providing excellent stroke care. This commitment includes fostering better patient outcomes, reducing costs and offering the latest treatment advances. It also means following strict protocols from the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association for the treatment and discharge of acute stroke patients. Such guidelines ensure that patients receive superior life-saving and evidence-based care.

Additionally, HFAP primary stroke centers, like the one at Reid Health, provide individualized care to meet each patient’s unique needs.

Other things to look for

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, the first thing to ask yourself is what type of care are you looking for? Are you looking for round-the-clock attention or something that allows a little more independence? Are you willing to endure an intensive program for faster results or do you prefer working at a slower pace? Once you have answered those questions, and depending on your needs and insurance plan, you can begin to narrow down the type of recovery program that’s best for you.

Recovery centers range from intensive inpatient facilities to daily outpatient programs and in-home nursing services. Because the risk of having another stroke is still high during the initial phases of recovery, most doctors require patients stay in the hospital for a few days before discharging them. For that reason, most patients start off with the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation. If the hospital does not have its own rehabilitation center, you or your loved one may need to attend a separate facility for treatment.

Undergoing rehabilitation at home may seem more comfortable and convenient, but it may come with a cost. Home rehabilitation patients miss out on using specialized equipment to aid their recovery. Plus, there’s a chance that insurance may not cover this type of care.

No matter the type of program you choose, it’s essential to remember stroke recovery takes tremendous patience and hard work. Selecting an HFAP certified program with an attentive, highly-trained staff, like the Reid Health Stroke Center, is the wisest choice for a safe and effective recovery. With the right care, it IS possible to live a full, productive life post-stroke!

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