Life after stroke
Stroke affects everybody differently, and it is difficult to say how much of a recovery is possible. Many stroke survivors experience the most dramatic recovery during their stay in hospital in the weeks after their stroke. But many stroke survivors continue to improve over a longer time, sometimes over a number of years. Their recovery is in fact a long period of rehabilitation, as they learn to deal with the effects the stroke has had on them. Rehabilitation is about getting back to normal life and living as independent a life as possible. It involves taking an active approach to ensuring that life goes on for people who have had a stroke. This can mean helping them to acquire new skills or relearn old ones. It may involve helping them adapt to the limitations caused by stroke. Or it can mean helping them find social, emotional and practical support. This section explains the wide range of activity that contributes to rehabilitation. It sets out: * the importance of a positive attitude,
* how family and carers can help,
* the role of different health professionals, and
* information about financial support.
It also gives information about getting support in the wider community, including services offered by the Stroke Association, and getting back to day-to-day life. Getting back to day-to-day life
Stroke affects everybody differently, and people recover from stroke at different rates. So it is impossible to say immediately after a stroke if or when a person will be able to return to the day-to-day life that they lived previously. Going back to work
Your GP or a member of the stroke care team will help decide if you are well enough to work. But you should also discuss options with your employer, including whether you want to go back to work full time, part time or if you could take on a new post within the same organisation. You can also talk to an Employment Advisor at a local Jobcentre Plus, who will give advice about disability, retraining and transferable skills. Driving
After a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), you are not allowed to drive for at least a month – or one year if you drive a large goods vehicle (LGV) or a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV). The extent of the damage the stroke has caused and the type of vehicle you drive will affect whether you can drive again. But if you are still recovering after a month, you may have to inform the DVLA of your situation. Your GP can arrange for an assessment at a mobility centre, if necessary. If you develop epilepsy after a stroke, you will not be allowed a licence for a normal car until you have been free of fits, commonly for a year (or longer for public-service vehicles or heavy goods vehicles). Holidays and insurance
Some stroke survivors find that the rapid rate of recovery in the first few weeks after their stroke makes them feel able to travel. But sometimes there are complications which make travelling difficult, or a long journey can make the tiredness caused by stroke much worse. As with driving and going back to work, it is a good idea to speak to your GP about whether a holiday is a good idea. Assessing needs at home
You can ask social services to carry out two kinds of assessment: * a community care assessment for stroke survivors, and
* a carer’s assessment for a person looking after them. These assessments should happen before the stroke survivor leaves hospital, but sometimes they happen afterwards. If you have an assessment, be honest about your needs. Give as much detail as possible about: * your circumstances as a stroke survivor or a carer
* your health
* how your time is spent and the practical support you need, and * how you are feeling.
What help can I expect?
Services vary from area to area, but may include:
* advice about and help applying for financial support
* equipment or changes to your home to help with day-to-day life * a place at a day centre
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