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Rehabilitation is Key to Recovery After a Stroke

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Stroke is the number 5 killer of all Americans and a leading cause of long-term adult disability, affecting more than 795,000 people a year. Few are prepared for this sudden, often catastrophic event, but rehabilitation rates are encouraging. In some cases, brain cell damage may be temporary and may resume functioning over time. In other cases, the brain can reorganize its own functioning and a region of the brain “takes over” for a region damaged by the stroke (National Stroke Association).

Memorial Hospital is a certified Acute Stroke Ready Hospital by IDPH. In 2014, Illinois recognized that there was an opportunity for rural or critical access hospitals to work in conjunction with the Primary Stroke Centers to provide evidence based protocols for Stroke patients, including administering “clot busting” medications and transport to a Primary Stroke Center. Memorial Hospital is proud to be able to provide this lifesaving opportunity to the community.

After a stroke, rehabilitation is key to recovery. Physical, occupational and speech therapies can help you relearn lost skills or help you change how you live to adapt to your new normal.


A team of professionals will plan your rehab program to help you meet your stroke recovery goals. This team may include some of the following:

  • Physician – Guides your care.

  • Nurse –helps survivors manage health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure and adjust to life after stroke.

  • Physical therapist – helps with problems in moving and balance, suggesting exercises to strengthen muscles for walking, standing and other activities.

  • Occupational therapist – helps with strategies to manage daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, writing and cooking.

  • Speech-language pathologist – helps with talking, reading and writing, and shares strategies to help with swallowing problems.

  • Dietician – teaches survivors about healthy eating and special diets low in sodium, fat and calories.

  • Social Services/Case manager – helps survivors make decisions about rehab programs, living arrangements, insurance, home support, facilitate follow-up, coordinate care from multiple providers and link to local services.


Your doctor decides when you’re stable and able to benefit from therapy. Most rehab services require a doctor’s order. At Chester Memorial Hospital, we offer PT, OT and ST as an inpatient, as part of our swing bed program and at our outpatient clinic, Therapy and Sports Rehab.


What you do in rehab depends on how the stroke affected you and what you need to regain your independence. Areas you may need to improve include:

  • Self-care skills such as feeding, grooming, bathing, toileting and dressing

  • Mobility skills such as transferring (from chair to bed or bed to chair, etc), walking or self-propelling a wheelchair

  • Communication skills in speech and language

  • Cognitive skills such as memory or problem solving

  • Social skills for interacting with other people


  • Training to improve mobility and ability to do daily tasks

  • Tailored post-stroke exercise program

  • Access to cognitive/engagement activities (books, games, computer)

  • Speech therapy, if stroke caused difficulty speaking or swallowing

  • Eye exercises, if stroke caused a loss of vision

  • Balance training for those with poor balance or with a fall risk

  • Adaptive strategies to help you function within a “new normal”

If you would like to learn more about Memorial Hospital’s stroke rehab program, call the Therapy and Sports Rehab Center for more information, 618-826-4588.

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