Goal-directed physiotherapy after a stroke
Steve was 63 when he had a stroke. As a heavy smoker with a generally sedentary lifestyle Steve had a range of additional risks and was admitted to a comprehensive stroke unit in a hospital rehabilitation facility to increase his chance of functional improvement.
During his stay, he participated in daily therapy including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology. Initially he required a stomach tube for feeding, help with all washing and dressing and was not able to sit or stand by himself.
Physiotherapy was provided for 45 minutes per day. This included task specific retraining with a combination of resistance and cardiovascular exercises. Steve was very tired initially, so physiotherapy treatment was broken into 3-5 minute bursts for a total of 20 minutes with rests in between. Gradually he worked up to 45 minute sessions.
Over the four months he was in hospital Steve improved dramatically. As a result of intensive, goal-directed physiotherapy he was discharged early and went home with support from a home carer to help with daily functions.
Steve continued to undertake rehabilitation at home and saw his physiotherapist as an outpatient. Eventually he was able to walk on his own with a walking stick and manage his daily functions without help. He continued to make improvements and with the encouragement and advice of his physiotherapist Steve now engages in a regular exercise program to reduce the risk of further strokes.