Mental evaluations after a stroke?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 10, 2016
Darla2 asked...

After a massive stroke, how do you tell if he still knows stuff? Like our dog, his new motor home, where he lives, all that? He can't speak, but they've mentioned nothing about what he might know or remember.

Expert Answers

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

Unfortunately, it's hard to answer this without knowing the details of the stroke. However, it sounds like his language centers were effected by the stroke. At a minimum, it sounds like his language production centers were effected. Often, people who can't make language after a stroke can still understand a surprising amount of what is going on around them and what is being spoken to them. I've seen patients who were virtually mute, but still seemed to have complete understanding of what was being said to them.

Also, even if the language part of his brain was severely damaged, this doesn't mean that he doesn't recognize you and his surroundings. If he is awake and alert, he almost undoubtedly recognizes you and appreciates that you are with him. He probably has a basic understanding of the world around him, even if he can't communicate using his language centers.

I hope this helps. Good luck, and remember that recovery from a stroke can contiue for up to 6-24 months.

Community Answers

Lvkdra answered...

Just a few days ago I had suggested these ideas to someone who has a mother who was in the hospital for possible kidney failure and who had pretty much stopped talking. I thought making up a few cards with large words such as NO, YES, LESS, SOME, MORE, ITCHY, DRY, THIRSTY, HUNGRY, COLD, HOT, WARM, COOL. Do all the talking asking questions slowly and clearly, & have cards available so they can answer by pointing to them. Have pictures of things and people important in their life. Label them with large letters - HOME,DOG, PIANO,kitchen, Workbench, Garden, spouse's name, a daughter or son's name, etc. If no answer at first, just keep doing it until the person catches onto what is in front of them and what you are doing. It takes patience. Go Slowly, so they make the connections. It takes time to rebuild language and visual/audio connections & coordination, just as it takes time to rebuild the physical pathways for walking.