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How Occupational Therapy Helps in Stroke Rehabilitation


After a stroke, your loved one has a long journey to rehabilitation ahead of them. Along the way, they will be supported by a number of rehabilitation professionals, who are there to assist your loved one in regaining their functioning and independence again. Among these professional are occupational therapists, who help your loved one relearn to handle daily tasks. Here are some of the ways an occupational therapist will contribute to a stroke victim’s rehabilitation.

Helping Stroke Victims to Participate in Their Lives Again

Following a stroke, it is possible that an individual may struggle with even the most basic tasks, such as eating, communicating, remembering, or even reaching for things. It can be difficult for a victim to remain an active participant in their life when facing these challenges. Occupational therapists have the important task of helping stroke victims reconnect with their lives and regain their independence.

Some of the services occupational therapists provide can include:

  • Retraining self-care skills and adapting tasks for ease and safety.
  • Addressing ongoing deficits in strength, memory loss, sensory loss, cognitive impairments and other issues that prevent participation in daily tasks.
  • Training in community reintegration and modifying tasks or environments to allow better participation.
  • Performing work-related task analysis and work site evaluations to recommend modifications that can allow victims to return to work. They also may work with educational institutions and assist with parenting-related tasks to help the victim return to their school or families more easily and safely.
  • Evaluating and treating difficulties with eating and swallowing.
  • Helping patients to develop coping strategies and supporting psychosocial health.
  • Teaching and enforcing healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of secondary strokes.
  • Developing strategies to overcome relationship barriers, including sexual intimacy.
  • Assisting with pre-driving and driving evaluations to determine if a patient may safely drive, and making recommendations for safe driving assistance or alternative transportation.

Increasing Independence

Occupational therapy is key component of the rehabilitation process because of the powerful ways it helps contribute to increased independence. Occupational therapy focuses on helping stroke patients relearn to perform tasks and navigate their lives after the traumatic experience of a stroke. They are instrumental in not only improving abilities and functioning, but also in instilling confidence and reducing the negative psychological effects many stroke victims experiences as they wrestle with frustration, isolation, and other factors.

Occupational therapists are experts in modifications, and will help patients achieve more by finding ways to make their tasks and goals more accessible. There are thousands of techniques and devices available to help an individual achieve their goals and perform daily tasks, no matter what limitations they face. Your loved one’s occupational therapist will work closely with them to help the reach their goals and develop feelings of self-reliance and confidence in their abilities.

There are also many different situations that a stroke patient may be facing, and occupational therapists can address these needs. When it comes to returning to work, resuming parenting duties, or returning to school, occupational therapists are sensitive to the wide variety of challenges their patients’ individual goals may come with. With an understanding of these goals, occupational therapists will customize their therapies to help their victim reach their desired recovery.

Mental Health Support

While an occupational therapist may not be a psychologist, they are integral for providing psychological support. Often, they have the ability to provide support in the moment of frustration. Occupational therapists also can help patients work on their relationships and social connections to help reduce isolation and develop a network to support them throughout their rehabilitation journey.

They engage patients to take charge of their lives, connect with others, and lead healthy lifestyles. How they achieve these actions often involves the development of coping strategies, promoting psychosocial health, providing education, and promoting healthy habits.

At King Street Rehab, our occupational therapists have experience working with a wide variety of patient needs. Our Fairfield County rehab center staff are dedicated to each of our patients, and we take the time to work towards individual goals so that patients achieve what they want to achieve. Schedule a tour of our luxurious and innovative facilities to learn more about our services.

Contact our offices by calling (914) 937-5800.

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