There is a good chance that as a baby boomer you know someone who has had a stroke. It is a common occurrence in America. So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every 40 seconds someone in the United States has one. What’s more, it is reported as well that when it comes to long-term disability, it is the leading cause. But recent research has suggested that there is hope for stroke survivors!
The University of Florida has conducted stroke research that shows patients can benefit from intense rehabilitation under the direction of a physical therapist. This counters earlier thoughts that people had about those who had a stroke not engaging in intense activity. This study, which is considered the largest stroke rehabilitation study in the country, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2011.
The research findings suggest that those who have suffered from a stroke:
Intensive therapy is beneficial to stroke patients, even if it is beginning six months after the stroke has taken place.
Patients benefit from the intensive therapy even if it is administered at home. This is good news for those who may have difficulty getting out of the home during rehabilitation. Being able to have the physical therapist come to the home, or being able to continue the plan on one’s own, is essential to make this program more effective.
The intense physical therapy in the study was conducted on patients who could not walk unassisted following their stroke. The therapy was done using a special treadmill, and the focus was placed on them improving range of motion, flexibility, strength, and balance.
After 90 minutes of intense therapy that was conducted three times weekly for a period of 12 to 16 weeks, one year later, all of those who participated in the study had made significant improvements in their ability to walk unassisted.
This research could go on to help patients be able to get better insurance coverage that includes the intense rehabilitation.
This research suggesting that intense rehabilitation for stroke patients provides hope for the millions of people who have had a stroke. If you know someone that has survived a stroke, whether it was recent or months or years ago, send them the information about this research. Much of it is likely the opposite of what they have been told previously, but that’s what new research is all about. And you never know just who it may help along the way!