Relearning Patient Goals
- 25. February 2019 - Blog
When we talk about the treatment and consequences of a stroke, many people think about the initial therapy at the hospital first. However, in most of the cases, a stroke is an event that changes the life of a patient and their family, way beyond the first hours of a treatment. Survivors usually need a minimum of six months to come to terms with what happened and to get used to renewed body and brain function. For example, uncertainty, anxiety, depression and dependency are commonly experienced emotions after a stroke.
A stroke often results in ‘residual deficits’ (medical term referring to the late effects of prior stroke). Whether therapy will be received in a rehabilitation hospital, at home with outpatient therapy or in a long-term care facility with skilled nursing care: Neurorehabilitation treatment aims to reduce these deficits and helps patients to gain back control in everyday living situations.
Most patients find everyday life activities such as eating or speaking harder to complete in the aftermath of a stroke.
Marta Gonzalez Ginoves, Head of Movement Therapy at cereneo, has been working in neurorehabilitation for many years and is familiar with the difficulties survivors are dealing with on their road to recovery. ‘’As a therapist, I can say that our achievements are the patient’s achievements. We work together as a team,’’ Gonzalez Ginoves says.
The effects of a stroke could cause difficulties for a person to voluntary move a certain body part or limb - for instance when a patient wants to move his or her arm but is unable to do so. Gonzalez Ginoves points out that ‘’to establish independence in everyday life situations, the side that is involved to the location of the lesion - the affected side - should receive intensive work and training.’’
‘’Occupational- and physiotherapists are increasingly integrating cognitive exercises within a patient’s regular treatment plan.’’ Marta Gonzalez Ginoves, Head of Movement Therapy.
While remediation treatment helps to restore lost skills through repetitive, specialist exercises, compensatory treatment helps to utilise intact skills to make up for deficits in other areas. Gonzalez Ginoves explains that ‘’an interdisciplinary approach, such as the integration of remediation and compensatory therapy, supports recovery from stroke in a persons' maximum capacity.’’
Rehabilitation treatment should be specifically tailored to the specific problem a person might experience after a stroke. This demands therapists to create personalised conditions, but also specifically requires caretakers to figure out which exercises benefits the patient’s individual needs. Gonzalez Ginoves clarifies: ‘’Neuropsychologists work with the patient to improve a person’s cognitive ability, but occupational therapists and physiotherapists integrate cognitive exercises more and more within a patient’s regular treatment plan.’’
‘’We assist in someone’s recovery by setting realistic and achievable goals together with the patient, followed by a consistent evaluation of a person’s achievements. Depending on the severity of the stroke and progress a patient is able to make, previously set goals are to be adjusted, mostly on a weekly basis. We adapt our interventions according to the goals that we have set and have weekly assessments with a multidisciplinary team of specialists,’’ Gonzalez Ginoves describes.
‘’Witnessing a patient achieving his or her goals that we have once set is very special to me.’’ Marta Gonzalez Ginoves, Head of Movement Therapy.
The goal is to allow patients to continue with their daily life in a happy and confident manner. More specifically, this could mean that patients can walk, use their arms to play with their grandchildren, go back to university or work without experiencing fatigue, facing fears or having concerns.
‘’Taking part in a patient’s journey to recovery, is exactly what makes my job so unique,’’ Gonzalez Ginoves says. ‘’When you work so closely with a patient, witnessing him or her achieving the goals that we have once set is very special.’’