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During this time, your loved one will be taking part in an intensive exercise program designed to help them regain functionality and independence. Here are some details:

  • Sessions may be 3+ hours per day, at least 5 days per week
  • May last up to 30 days or longer, depending on your loved one’s progress
  • Completed at the hospital where your loved one was admitted, a long-term acute care hospital, or a skilled nursing facility

Inpatient rehabilitation is hard work and can sometimes feel boring, tiresome, or frustrating. Your loved one may be spending several hours each day re-learning skills like feeding themselves, walking, speech, and hygiene. You are likely learning how to help meet their needs.

No matter what you’re feeling, it’s important to help your loved one stay motivated because inpatient rehab is a vital step in the journey to recovery.

Use the information in this section to help you better understand your role as a caregiver during this time and make the most of your loved one’s inpatient rehab sessions.


Visual things to pay attention to during your loved one’s inpatient rehab time

  1. Beware of reduced range of motion and increased stiffness in your loved one’s arms, hands, legs, and feet—these could be signs of spasticity
  2. Observe your loved one’s therapy sessions and take notes on the exercises and activities they are completing
  3. Keep an eye on your loved one’s sleep patterns and make note of any changes or disturbances
  4. Watch out for possible seizures, which can happen after a stroke

Instructions and details to make note of during your loved one’s inpatient rehab time

  1. Listen for signs of depression in your loved one (sadness, loss of interest, low self-esteem), which is common following a stroke
  2. Pay attention to all test results and recommendations for assistive devices, like walkers, wheelchairs, or canes
  3. Tune in to your loved one's personal goals for recovery. It's important to address these during team meetings
  4. Keep track of your loved one's requests for assistance with certain tasks


Conversations to have during your loved one’s inpatient rehab time

  1. Ask about exercises you can help with at home, and anything else that may aid in recovery
  2. Request a home safety evaluation before discharge so you can start thinking about how to prepare your loved one’s home
  3. Find out what can be done at home to help manage any muscle stiffness/tightness your loved one may be experiencing
  4. Request copies of all test results and a complete discharge summary

Tasks to complete during your loved one’s inpatient rehab time

  1. Keep a record of your loved one’s progress for discussion with the healthcare team
  2. Continue inviting family members to attend weekly team meetings, as appropriate
  3. Meet with the social worker/case manager about transition plans
  4. Get finances in order and enroll in Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), if necessary

Talk to your loved one’s doctor if you notice any of these signs and symptoms:


Inpatient rehab may be a difficult time for you and your loved one, but there are things you can do to help ease the strain:

  1. BE INVOLVED Take an active role during your loved one’s therapy sessions. This can help you feel productive
  2. BE INFORMED Learn how to communicate effectively with your loved one’s healthcare team
  3. BE A BOOKWORM Pick up a new book to read during any downtime you may have
  4. BE PROACTIVE Determine when you may be able to start attending support groups or joining online discussions
  5. BE HEALTHY Talk to a dietician about ways you can stay healthy and strong
Use this 5-point questionnaire to help you start the conversation about spasticity with your doctor
Spasticity Quiz
How much muscle stiffness/tightness do you experience during rest, movement, or sleep?
How difficult is it to straighten, bend, or flex your limbs due to muscle stiffness/tightness?
How bad are any muscle spasms/twitches you experience?
Are the muscle stiffness/tightness and/or spasms you experience associated with pain?
Over the past month, how bothersome has your muscle stiffness/tightness and/or spasms been?

You’ve completed the Spasticity Quiz!

Email or download your responses and take them with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and together, you can determine if you have spasticity and what your treatment options may be.

Email my completed quiz

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