Is there a limit to how much a person can recover from a stoke?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 11, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband had a major stroke in April, 2008. He was doing good with therapy for awhile, then he started declining. I took him to a neurologist and he found fluid on his brain. He has had two shunts put in and had to have surgery for a blood clot that formed on his brain. He has had seizures and is on Keppra. He is very childlike, totally incontinent, and needs constant supervision. My question is, will he ever get better or is this as good as it gets?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

As a general rule of thumb, the best chance for recovery after a stroke is within the first 6 months, with some people having some notable recovery out to 2 years.

That said, I would not completely give up hope, because then "no improvement" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would encourage you to keep his mind and body as active as possible - trying to keep him engaged in everyday activities, moving around as much as possible, and get him outdoors on regular occasions. The worst thing you can do is accept no improvement, and keep him indoors in front of a TV all day. The mind and body have to remain active everyday or else both of them atrophy. By stimulating him to think and to stay active, it will maximize his potential in the long term.

Good luck!!