10 Questions to Ask After a Stroke

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If your parent has suffered a stroke, the future may seem very uncertain. Now is the time to organize medical care and figure out how to make the transition from the hospital to home as smooth as possible. Ask your parent's doctors and nurses the following:

How long can we expect recovery to take?

There's no set timeline for recovery, but the doctors and nurses should be able to give you some idea of what your parent's prognosis will be, including how much care he'll need and what limitations to expect. The extent of your parent's disability depends on the severity of his stroke and the area of the brain affected. If he'll need more care than you can provide, now is the time to make plans.

What specialists and therapy might help my parent regain skills and functions?

Your parent may benefit from a team of specialists, including the following:

  • Physical therapists help with exercises to improve mobility and functional independence.
  • Occupational therapists help patients relearn how to perform the activities of daily living.
  • Speech therapists help with communication problems, cognitive disorders, and swallowing difficulties.
  • Recreational therapists improve quality of life and promote independence through recreation.
  • Nutritionists design and supervise healthy diets.

Ask your parent's doctor which types of therapy might be most beneficial and whether your parent's insurance covers them.

5 More Post Stroke Questions

What kind of equipment might make our lives easier?

Depending on the extent of your parent's disability, you may want to look into special equipment to help him with his daily activities. Your parent may need a wheelchair or walker, a special mattress, or braces to support his affected side. The doctors and nurses will work with you to find the right equipment; you can purchase or rent most of it from medical supply companies.

What kind of dietary restrictions should we follow?

It's likely your parent will need to make changes to his diet, but the thought of implementing those changes may daunt you. The doctors and nurses can help you figure out the best diet for your parent. Ask what foods are good for general cardiovascular health, what foods he should limit, and how to control portion size. If you need more assistance, ask for a referral to a nutritionist who specializes in helping stroke survivors.

What type of exercise program should my parent follow?

Regular exercise can help your parent feel more energetic, lose weight, lower his blood pressure, and reduce his cholesterol level. But depending on the extent of your parent's disability, you may need an expert to design an appropriate exercise program. Ask for a referral to an exercise therapist who specializes in stroke rehabilitation.

What medications will my parent need to take -- and what are the likely side effects?

The doctor has probably prescribed a bewildering array of different medications to your parent. Make sure you understand each medication and its potential side effects. For each medication, ask:

  • What does it do?
  • How often should my parent take it?
  • If he misses a dose, should he take it late or skip it?
  • Should he take it before, during, or after a meal?
  • Is there anything my parent should not take, eat, or drink with this medication?
  • What side effects might we expect?
  • Will my parent need any follow-up tests to make sure the medication is working?

What kinds of follow-up appointments will my parent need?

Ask what doctors he'll need to see and whether your insurance will cover those appointments.

More Questions to Ask Following Stroke

What can we do to minimize the risk of another stroke?

Most stroke survivors are at a higher risk for a second stroke. The doctors and nurses can offer practical advice and referrals to specialists such as exercise therapists and nutritionists.

What should we do if we think he's having another stroke?

Be aware that a second stroke may not exhibit the same symptoms as the first. Ask the doctor for a list of signs to look out for and specific steps you should take if you see them.

Are there any local support groups we can contact?

Your parent's doctors and nurses are a great source of information about the support network and other resources available for stroke survivors and their families. Don't hesitate to ask them for local referrals.

Stephanie Trelogan

Stephanie Trelogan writes about heart disease, stroke, and depression issues that concern people caring for their aging parents. See full bio

almost 2 years, said...

My 56 year old mother had a hemorrhagic stroke a year ago that affected the function of her left side. She had acute rehab for 2 months after the stroke and had home physical therapy up until 4 months ago. I have continued to do the exercises the therapists taught me with her but the past week I have noticed her left leg getting worse. When I help her to stand she now only uses her right leg and her left leg, left ankle, left foot all seem to be in a state of what looks like cramping or flexing. I dont know if maybe im over doing it with her or not enough as far as therapy is concerned. Is this a common result among stroke victims?

over 2 years, said...

i had a stroke sept05th 2015 i dont remember much from it but i had a very bad headache the night before and when i was in icu for 2 days and it has not gone away i been seeing specialist but he doesnt know why i had a stroke or why i have a headache what at times is soo bad where i want to scream for pain he gave me some medication i couldn take it made me very sick and i couldn see straight i was falling thru the door nothing what has been giving to me has helped with the pain at times its dull pain and others is stabbing pain can somebody please help me or give me advise how to get rid of the pain

almost 3 years, said...

I experienced gabbling I.e.tAlking too quickly. It happened last evening and again this afternoon whilst in conversation; however, on both occasions I realised what had happened so the repeated my statement slowly, which seemed to restotore the rythm of my speech.

almost 4 years, said...

are there any audio components to help stroke victims communicate

about 4 years, said...

M mother died January 17 th of this year; unecoectelly! Since then my father has had (2) two strokes. I was with him of the first one and the second happen whole different level he all I know at not the worse; meaning for me death, I never had that chance with my mother please any advise I am so helpless:(

over 4 years, said...

2 small strokes apparently along while back that was not noticed. diagnosis vascular dementia. what can we expect in the future. taking Plavix and simistatin.

over 4 years, said...

I had a stoke from a left side carotid dissection. It took almost a year to regain most things. I have enrolled in college and its becoming obvious that my word recall is going to make it impossible. I'm very discouraged. I recall words I have heard but the ability to learn new words is not there. Has anyone dealt with something similar?

over 4 years, said...


over 5 years, said...

hi my mama had a stroke 8-24-12 she is 75yrs, iam so confuse i dont know what questions to ask the doctors my lovely mama is still in the hospital she has no reaction to any of us which is sad her right side is paralyzed , she had to get a i just want know what to do to make her confortable she seems confusse she is and how long does it usually take for a person in this condicion to speak ? I JUST LOVE MY MAMA SO MUCH IT HURTS

over 6 years, said...

Knowing my side effects sren't unique to me. Being a stroke survivor is almost as lonely as being a writer. By the way, these articles are well-written. Thanks for not using their when referring to one person.

over 6 years, said...

Had major stroke 9-10-2010. Got correct treatment within the "3 golden hours" and walked out of the hospital 8 weeks later. Time--treatment--toughness all necesary for recovery.

over 6 years, said...

Please add Neuro Ophthalmic Rehabilitation to your list of therapy help for stroke survivors. Many health care providers are not aware that almost every stroke survivor has difficulty with spatial relationships, dipolpia, visual convergence, visual inattention and visual field loss - to name only a few issues. Health care providers do not associate problems with gait, reading, balance or attention to details, for example, as brain processing issues corrected with vision therapy. Vision is our dominant sense and the visual system is integrated with the neurological system. Correcting visual disturbances immediately following a stroke can have a significant impact on the other therapies - delaying this help can cause more problems later and at the very least significantly slow the recovery. Vision therapy is not directed at correcting refractive errors, by simply getting new glasses, but rather correcting post trauma vision syndromes, management of visual and neurological symptoms, and correcting dysfunction of the ambient visual process.

over 6 years, said...

that there is so much more help out there than I could have imagined. Thank you so much.

over 6 years, said...

Having had a mild stroke and both parents having died of strokes, I am constantly worried, not just for myself but for my husband, daughter, son and grandson. I would hate for them to go through the agony I did with the instnt death of my own parents

almost 7 years, said...

Hi zed_carzidea­, Thank you for your question. Here is an article about how strokes are diagnosed which may help to answer your question: ( http://www.caring.com/articles/stroke-diagnosis ). I hope that helps. Take care -- Emily | Community Manager

almost 7 years, said...

I'd like to ask a question : How do we know that it is a mild stroke? Do we realised by ourselves (of a mild stroke) or who confirms?

almost 7 years, said...

10 questions meant a 1000. it is a test of courage to accept a fact that life has changed NOW! it is YOU and not the one who's paralysed. Face it, it's how much can you devote your time to them...

almost 7 years, said...

Ihad my stroke and rehab 6 months ago - sovar it went well but i need to get back to work an am aggitated an anxious fof I have to be back to work in two months and I dont feel ready yet???

almost 7 years, said...

after a stroke, is it normal to have lots of pain on the stroke side

about 7 years, said...

The list of questions that I would call "OK, what now?" The reason I say that is after having a serious stroke at 60, and "recovering" in the hospital for about a week, they said, OK you are ready to go home, and, BTW you probably need to get some therapy, you can get that across the street. No one made any attempt to understand my goals (basically get back to work), or assess my deficiencies related to my job skills, so we just floundered around, until a friend of a friend suggested I get a test by a nueropsychologist, who got me into a great brain injury clinic. I think unless you can clearly define the skills and functions you need you can waste a lot of time with inappropriate therapy. My first therapist was teaching me how to make coffee, not exactly what I needed at work.