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Self Care Measures After A Stroke


What are self-care measures after a stroke?

Self-care measures are steps you can take to help recover from a stroke. Self-care measures help you learn skills to do your normal daily activities and decrease pain or problems moving. Your healthcare provider will help you develop a plan to care for yourself at home and at work.

What changes can a stroke cause?

  • Weakness, or trouble moving, walking, or balancing
  • Trouble swallowing, or breathing food and liquid into your lungs
  • Pain, or lack of feeling when something touches your skin
  • Vision loss
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Trouble remembering things, or getting lost easily
  • Problems urinating or having bowel movements

What therapies may help me after a stroke?

Rehabilitation (rehab) is an important part of your recovery. Attend all rehab sessions so you can learn to prevent falls and to do activities more easily.

  • Occupational: You learn new ways to do daily activities. You may learn new skills to help you bathe, dress, eat, and drive.
  • Physical: You learn to strengthen your arms, legs, and hands. You learn exercises to improve your balance and movement to decrease your risk of falling.
  • Speech: You learn skills needed to talk or swallow. You may be given thickened liquids to help keep you from breathing liquid into your lungs.
  • Vocational: You learn skills that will help you return to work.

What exercises should I do?

You will have to exercise carefully after your stroke. You may have problems with balance or movement. You may need to have a healthcare provider with you when you exercise, to help keep you from falling. Carefully follow your healthcare provider's instructions.

  • Gait training: Gait training helps improve the way you walk. You may walk on a treadmill or walk up and down stairs. You may have a harness (belt) strapped on you for support.
  • Strength training: Weightlifting helps strengthen your muscles, including your heart. Do not lift weights that are heavier than your healthcare provider says is safe.
  • Water exercises: Water exercises may be safer for you, because you will not fall while you exercise.
  • Balance training: A healthcare provider helps you walk on a board. He will support you until you are able to balance on your own.
  • Sensory training: This training helps you know when you are being touched.
  • Vision coaching: A healthcare provider helps you learn how to cope with the changes to your vision.

What devices can help me recover?

  • Canes and walkers: These may help your balance and decrease your risk of falling. Your healthcare provider may want you to use a cane with 3 or 4 legs for extra support.
  • Splints and braces: Splints or braces can help keep your bones and joints sturdy as you walk. If your ankle or knee is weak, you may need to wear a brace for support.
  • Wheelchairs: You may need a wheelchair if you cannot walk on your own. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about different types of wheelchairs. Healthcare providers will teach you how to move safely to and from your wheelchair.
  • Tools: You may need special tools to help you get dressed or reach things. You may need to have grab bars installed in your home to help you move more safely. You may need tools installed in your car to help you drive safely.

What else can I do to recover?

  • Stop smoking: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk of another stroke. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.
  • Eat healthy foods: The foods you eat can help prevent or manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Eat foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you take warfarin, it works best when you eat about the same amount of Vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods.

How can I tell if someone is having a stroke?

Know the F.A.S.T. test to recognize the signs of a stroke:

  • F = Face: Ask the person to smile. Drooping on one side of the mouth or face is a sign of a stroke.
  • A = Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. One arm that slowly comes back down or cannot be raised is a sign of a stroke.
  • S = Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence that you say first. Speech that is slurred or sounds strange is a sign of a stroke.
  • T = Time: Call 911 if you see any of these signs. This is an emergency.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a sore on your skin that does not go away.
  • You have new symptoms, or your symptoms are getting worse.
  • You have pain that does not go away, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have fallen.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face.
  • You are confused and have problems speaking or understanding speech.
  • You have vision loss or a severe headache.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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