Associate Professor Deidre Anne De Silva, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology at National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), shares what to expect during and after hospitalisation for a stroke.
What happens during and after when you or a loved one is hospitalised for stroke?
The duration of hospitalisation for a stroke differs depending on various patient factors and the stroke severity.
The average length of stay for a stroke patient at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is
1) During hospitalisation period
During the hospitalisation period, a stroke patient will undergo various tests including brain scans and blood investigations.
These will help the doctor to diagnose the type and cause of stroke as well as the patient's stroke risk factors, which in turn will influence the patient's treatment.
The effects of a stroke may be physical, cognitive and / or emotional.
There can be serious complications in the immediate period following a stroke such as:
The risks of these complications vary between stroke patients, and the doctor will discuss these risks with the patient and his/her loved ones.
While in hospital, the stroke patient will be managed by a team of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, psychologists and medical social workers.
Acute stroke treatment includes oral medications and close monitoring for any deterioration and complications. In some specific cases, it may involve medications via infusions and surgery.
2) During rehabilitation period
Rehabilitation is an important component of care following a stroke.
This will be tailored to the symptoms and signs the patient has as a result of the stroke as well as specific needs.
The patient's rehabilitation may be continued while as an inpatient in the acute hospital, or the patient may be transferred to a community hospital for inpatient rehabilitation, or may be discharged and have outpatient rehabilitation at a centre near the patient's home.
Stroke recovery is a slow process that takes months.
Up to 60 per cent of stroke survivors have some residual disability. Part of the patient's rehabilitation programme will involve learning how to adapt and cope with these residual deficits.
This may involve learning tips to help perform daily tasks, use of tools and aids such as walking frames, and installation of home modifications.
Stroke caregivers, watch this video to learn how to help a stroke survivor walk safely.
Also, check out our stroke resource page for more exercise and wellness videos.
Participation in rehabilitation and keeping active is known to improve outcomes following a stroke.
3) Potential complications after a stroke
There are many long-term complications associated with a stroke. These include:
Clots in the veins of the legs due to prolonged immobilisation
Joint pains and contractures,
Increased stiffness of the affected limbs and
The healthcare team will discuss with the patient and his/her loved ones how to prevent these complications as well as how to manage them should they occur.
Stroke survivors are at risk of another stroke and other vascular diseases such as a
heart attack (myocardial infarction).
The team will also provide an
individual management care plan that will include taking medications as prescribed, attending medical appointments on schedule, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Check out other articles on stroke:
Videos: Stroke Rehabilitation Exercises & Wellness Guide
Dealing with Complications After a Stroke
Suffered a Stroke? 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Testing Language Problems in Stroke Victims
4 Facts About Stroke You Need to Know
Beware of Mini Stroke – TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)