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Long term stroke rehabilitation: what is it and why is it important?

What is stroke rehabilitation?

Stroke rehabilitation is a patient-centred, goal driven process which aims to maximise independence with functional activities and participation in society to improve quality of life. The main goal of stroke rehabilitation is to assist the stroke survivor to return to or as close as possible to their premorbid function within their family environment, community environment and where possible work environment.

Rehabilitation can be delivered in an inpatient or outpatient setting. An inpatient setting is preferred for dense strokes followed by outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehabilitation allows a range of different therapists to collaboratively provide a high intensity rehabilitation program for the stroke survivor. When stroke survivors are discharged from inpatient rehabilitation where they are participating in 2-5 hours of rehabilitation a day, patients often begin to see a decline in their progression, which can be disheartening. Outpatient rehabilitation can help stroke survivors to continue to see improvement while allowing them to be home with their family and experience their activities of daily living, which can help lead their rehabilitation goals.

Outpatient physiotherapy rehabilitation is targeted to the individual and can help stroke survivors with their:

  • Walking and gait

  • Balance

  • Coordination

  • Spasticity/tightness

  • Range of movement (stiffness)

  • Decreased strength

  • Altered sensation

  • Sensory and visual neglect

  • Activities of daily living and function

Why is stroke rehabilitation important?

The Australian Clinical guidelines for stroke management strongly recommends that community-dwelling stroke survivors who have difficulty with activities of daily living should have specific therapy with a trained clinician. This is because stroke survivors who continue rehabilitation for up to a year after their stoke have shown to have improved overall long-term outcomes. There is strong evidence that physiotherapy interventions in all phases of stroke, including the chronic phase provide ongoing benefits for stroke survivors.

If you are a stroke survivor and are hoping to see more improvement, a visit to Saltfleet Clinic may be of benefit to you. Our physiotherapists can work together with our psychologist and other members of our interdisciplinary team to provide you with support, education, treatment and guidance.


Stroke Foundation. (2017). The Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management.

Verbeek, J.M, Van Wegen, E, Van Peppen, R, Van der Wees, P.J, Heniks, E, Rietberg, M, & Kwakkel, G. (2014). What Is the Evidence for Physical Therapy Poststroke? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PloS One, 9(2), E87987.

Whitehead, S., & Baalbergen, E. (2019). Post-stroke rehabilitation. South African Medical Journal, 109(2), 81-83.


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