Visual excercises


One of the first assessments people with stroke have when they are admitted to hospital is a look at how well they can move and walk. Mobility assessments are usually carried out by physiotherapists who let the person with stroke, and any carer they might have, know the results.
They will decide with the person who has had the stroke what needs to be done, which can include teaching a carer ways to help you remain mobile around the home.
Many people will be able to sit up fairly quickly and begin to recover the ability to walk if they have lost it. As things improve they may well need someone to advise them on the safety of walking, the possible benefits of suitable aids to help them get about, and the best exercises to do to regain their strength.

Swallow tests

A swallow test is essential for anybody who has had a stroke.

Swallowing problems affect over a third of people after a stroke. When a person cannot swallow properly, there is a risk that food and drink may get into the windpipe and then into the lungs (called aspiration), which can lead to chest infections and pneumonia.
The initial test is simple. The person is given a few teaspoons of water to drink. If they can swallow this without choking and coughing they will be asked to swallow half a glass of water.

If they have any difficulty swallowing, they will be referred to the speech and language therapist for a more detailed assessment. They will not be allowed to eat and drink without help, and if swallowing problems continue for more than a few days, they will be given a diet that gives them all the nutrition they need in pureed food or thickened drinks. They will also be shown how to eat safely and in the correct position.
An investigation called videofluoroscopy, a type of video X-ray, can help find out exactly what is causing swallowing problems.

The recovery and quality of life of the person who’s had the stroke will be better if they can take food and drink by mouth. In extreme cases, artificial feeding methods may be necessary. This could be via nasogastric feeding, when a tube is passed up the nose and down the throat to get food into the stomach, or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), where a feeding tube goes into the stomach directly through the abdominal wall.

Talking, listening and writing

Strokes sometimes affect the language centres in the brain and interfere with the ability to talk, write and understand what is going on, a condition called Dysphasia.
Dysphasia has several effects:

  • Problems in speech or making sound
  • Difficulties in finding the right word
  • Trouble understanding written and spoken language
  • Slurring of speech, sounding similar to being drunk
  • Using made-up words, and failing to understand humour

The degree to which an individual is affected is usually measured by a speech and language therapist who will help overcome communication problems. The speech therapist will also give advice on the best ways of communicating, and consider whether specific treatments are likely to be effective.


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