More People Involved in Stroke Recovery and Where It Happens
Approximately one-fourth of all strokes occur in people between the ages of 45 and 65. For most people in this age group, returning to work is a major concern. Vocational therapists perform many of the same functions that ordinary career counselors do. They can help people:
- With residual disabilities
- Identify vocational strengths
- Develop resumes that highlight those strengths
- Identify potential employers
- Assist in specific job searches
- Provide referrals to stroke vocational rehabilitation agencies.
Most important, vocational therapists educate disabled individuals about their rights and protections as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This law requires employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled employees. Vocational therapists frequently act as mediators between employers and employees to negotiate the provision of reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
Mental Health Professionals
Addressing a stroke survivor's mental and emotional health can be an important part of stroke rehabilitation. For example, stroke survivors often experience depression (see Stroke and Depression). Treatment for such depression may shorten the rehabilitation process and lead to a more rapid recovery.
Mental health professionals that may be involved in the rehabilitation process include:
- Clinical social workers.
Stroke rehabilitation should begin as soon as a stroke patient is stable, often within 24 to 48 hours after a stroke. This first stage of rehabilitation usually occurs within an acute-care hospital. At the time of discharge from the hospital, the stroke patient and family coordinate with hospital social workers to locate a suitable living arrangement. Many stroke survivors return home, but some patients will move into some type of medical facility.