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Choosing the Right Stroke Rehab Facility

Rehabilitation actually starts in the hospital as soon as possible following a stroke. In patients who are stable, rehabilitation may begin within two days after the stroke has occurred, and should be continued as necessary after release from the hospital.

The long-term goal of rehabilitation is to improve function so that the stroke survivor can become as independent as possible. This must be accomplished in a way that preserves dignity and motivates the survivor to relearn basic skills that the stroke may have impaired.

Stroke rehabilitation often requires healthcare professionals from several disciplines because a stroke can affect many different functions:
  • MD = medical doctor
  • RN = nurse
  • LPN = licensed practical or vocational nurse
  • NA = nurse assistant
  • OT = occupational therapist (e.g, feeding, grooming, bathing, toileting, and dressing)
  • PT = physical therapist (e.g., mobility such as transferring, walking, or self-propelling a wheelchair)
  • ST = speech therapist (e.g., speech, memory, problem solving, and swallowing)
  • SW = social worker
The average hospital stay is between 4 (for ischemic strokes) and 7 days (hemorrhagic strokes). Most stroke patients are then transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, a skilled nursing facility, or a long-term acute care hospital. Those discharged to home may have home health or outpatient therapy.

Place
Admission
Stay
Primary Professionals
Hospital
ASAP
4-7 days
MD, RN
Inpatient Rehab*
5-7 days
15-30 days
MD, RN, OT, PT, ST, SW
Skilled Nursing
5-7 days
varies up to 100 days
LPN, NA, OT, PT, ST, SW
Nursing Home
varies
varies and prolonged
LPN, NA
Long-term Hospital
varies
25 days
MD, RN
Home Healthcare
5-30 days
60 days max
NA, RN
Outpatient Office
5-30 days
varies
OT, PT, ST
* Inpatient Rehab Facilities are usually the most effective. You can look for and compare IRFs in your area by going to https://www.medicare.gov/inpatientrehabilitationfacilitycompare.


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