Stroke rehabilitation

After experiencing a stroke, you will be assigned a number of different health professionals while you are in hospital.  They are commonly referred to as your ‘stroke team’.  They will work with you and your family while you are in hospital.  The care you receive, and the health professionals who work with you will depend on the problems you are having after your stroke.

Rehabilitation aims to maximise your independence after stroke by improving your ability to cope with the effects of the stroke and prevent deterioration. Rehabilitation should start as early as possible, usually in the acute stroke unit or medical ward.  Ongoing rehabilitation may also be needed. This can be done by staying in hospital (such as a specialised rehabilitation ward) or in the community (either within your own home or as an out-patient in a hospital or community facility).

Living to the Max Occupational Therapy Services specialise in community (in-home) rehabilitation.  Our Occupational Therapists are experienced in working with your stroke team to manage your transition from hospital to home and to ensure that your rehabilitation requirements are met. You and your family/carers should also be actively involved in your rehabilitation and rehabilitation choices. The stroke team will decide with you if you need ongoing rehabilitation and if a referral to in-home rehabilitation services are required.

Upper limb rehabilitation post stroke

Your upper limb (arm) can be affected in several ways after a stroke. There are many treatments to improve your ability to use your arm and these should be started as early as possible. Often this will include a referral to an occupational therapist, initially as an in-patient and then to a community based occupational therapist.

The Stroke Foundation is an excellent resource to assist you and your family through the trauma of experiencing a stroke. It provides a wealth of information about support services available to assist with post-stroke care, including upper limb management after a stroke.  To summarise, there are several ways that a stroke can affect your arm. Usually only one side of your body will be affected.  They are:

  • Weakness – Your arm may be paralysed completely or your shoulder, elbow, wrist and/or hand may be weak. This means you may have difficulty reaching, picking things up or holding onto things.
  • Co-ordination problems – You may have difficulty planning or coordinating the movements of your arm, meaning your arm doesn’t move in the way you want it to.
  • Swelling – If your hand or arm doesn’t move as well as it used to, fluid may build up in your hand or arm causing swelling (called oedema).
  • Changes in muscle tone – You may have high tone (called hypertonia or spasticity) which makes your muscles stiff or tight. You may have low tone (called hypotonia) which makes your muscles floppy or loose.
  • Subluxation – Weakness or low tone may allow the top of your arm to drop out of the shoulder socket slightly. This makes arm movements difficult and can be painful.
  • Contracture – Weakness or high tone may make your muscles shorter or joints less flexible. This makes movements difficult and can be painful.

As part of your rehabilitation program, your arm strength, feeling and movements will be assessed. A range of treatments will then be prescribed, based on your individual problems and goals.  Our Occupational Therapists can do this in isolation or in collaboration with your in-patient stroke team.

How is your in-home stroke rehabilitation funded?

Living to the Max Occupational Therapy Services is a registered Medicare provider. Medicare provides claim benefits for chronic medical conditions, including stroke, and for clients with complex care needs. Eligible patients are entitled to Medicare benefits for up to five (5) Allied Health consults (including occupational therapy) per year.

Those with relevant extras cover through their private health insurance may also be eligible for subsidised occupational therapy treatment as part of their stroke rehabilitation.  We recommend that you check with your health fund regarding your eligibility and we are happy to provide your fund with the necessary information to streamline your claim.

For further information on Medicare and private health insurance, please refer to our Health Rebates page.

We welcome your enquiry to discuss your post stroke rehabilitation requirements. Please contact us here