According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), over 700,000 people in the United States experience strokes every year. Two-thirds of those people make it through the stroke and end up needing some form of mental and physical rehabilitation. During the recovery period, patients work to regain the skills and physical abilities that were lost during the stroke. By understanding the recovery timeline, you will be better equipped to assist in the process.
Initial Recovery Time
The first stages of recovery begin about twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the stroke, when the patient is still in the hospital. Because most strokes damage a person’s ability to move independently, doctors will encourage the patient to complete range-of-motion exercises, change positions, and, depending on the severity of the stroke, stand or walk around the hospital room. Some stroke patients regain a significant amount of mobility in the first few days.
Intensive Rehabilitation Time
The initial stages of stroke rehabilitation are intensive and last for about five to six weeks. During that period, patients will undergo inpatient or outpatient therapy, depending on their physical state and proximity to a treatment center. For five to six days each week, the patient will undergo intensive physical therapy, tests, and sessions with doctors. You can also opt for the more expensive in home physical therapy which is probably most suited to the elderly who don’t live near there rehab center.
Although it is difficult to predict the exact stroke recovery time frame, most improvements happen within the first six months. Patients may continue to improve after the six-month period if they have a great deal of support from family, friends, and doctors. After the initial few days of recovery:
- 10 percent of patients experience a full recovery
- 25 percent continue to suffer minor problems
- 40 percent are classified as moderate to severely impaired
- 10 percent of stroke patients will require long-term care
Speech Recovery Time
In some cases, stroke patients will experience aphasia, or damage to the part of the brain that deals with language. After the stroke, the person will often struggle to find the right words, form sentences, read, or write. According to The National Aphasia Foundation, approximately 25 to 40 percent of people have aphasia after a stroke. If a patient suffers from aphasia, it can take up to two years to experience a full functional recovery. Lean more about brain stem stroke symptoms and recovery.
Recovering from an Acute Ischemic Stroke
During an ischemic stroke, the brain is cut off from the blood supply due to a clot or atherosclerosis. The recovery time for an ischemic stroke depends on a number of factors, including the age of the patient, the time before diagnosis, and any underlying health conditions. Ischemic strokes often cause paralysis; approximately 50 percent of people who are paralyzed on one side of the body will recover some level of movement even before they leave the hospital. According to Cedars-Sinai, the recovery and rehabilitation process continues for up to six months. At that point, any problems with physical and mental functioning are likely to be permanent. Read about the best physical rehabilitation centers in the US.
Recovering from a Hemorrhagic Stroke
A hemorrhagic stroke happens as a result of sudden bleeding around the brain. They account for approximately 20 percent of all strokes, according to The New York Times. The recovery time depends on whether the bleeding was intracerebral or in the brain stem. For intracerebral strokes, there is generally a lower risk and a shorter recovery time; most gains are made in the first three months. If the stroke affected the brain stem, the recovery may take a year or more. Read about the best physical rehabilitation centers in Seattle.
TIA Stroke Rehabilitation Time
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) happens when a patient experiences symptoms that are similar to a stroke for a period of twenty-four hours or less. In general, TIA strokes last for less than two hours. Because a TIA is not a full-blown stroke, there is not an extended stroke recovery time, and patients usually recover immediately. A TIA is a serious warning sign, however, and patients must address underlying causes to prevent strokes in the future. If you are worried about costs and insurance then consult our Stroke Rehab Centers: Cost and Insurance Guide.