Occupational therapists are important members of the health care team who work with people recovering from stroke. They teach individuals who have had strokes to cope with disability and to become as independent as possible to continue working, personal lives, manage stress and fatigue, and participate in family and community life.

The goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals to become as independent as possible in daily life. Occupational therapy services are available in many hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and in home health programs. This year, more than 500,000 Americans will have a stroke. In spite of the problems that result from stroke, many of these people will return to their homes and live independent, productive lives with the skilled help of occupational therapy personnel.

Problems resulting from a stroke may include:

  • Problems with vision and reading
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Temporary or permanent weakness of one side of the body

These problems may interfere with your ability to:

  • Care for personal needs like bathing and dressing
  • Prepare meals and care for your home
  • Move about in the community, drive a car or use public transportation
  • Participate in work, educational and leisure activities

While you are recovering, occupational therapy can help you:

  • Learn new ways to manage daily tasks
  • Obtain special assistive equipment to help you function independently
  • Discover ways to increase your physical strength, endurance and mobility.
  • Compensate for loss of sensation and vision.
  • Develop skills necessary to return to work, household tasks and community activities.

To increase your independence, the occupational therapist may recommend:

  • Altering your home to eliminate hazards while walking or using a wheelchair
  • Special devices or aids that will help you to perform home and work tasks
  • Methods of dressing and bathing
  • Techniques and resources for improving your mobility in the home and community

For additional information regarding these services or to make a referral, please contact UM BWMC's Rehabilitation Services Department at 410-787-4433.