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Stroke: The recovery team

  • You will work with a health care team that may include any of the following:


    A doctor will be in charge of your care. This doctor may be a(n):


    Nurses will closely watch your ability to eat, swallow and move. They check your skin and check to make sure you have no problems going to the bathroom. Nurses will give you medicine and help with therapy.

    They will educate you and your family about stroke and medicines. Nurses will also work with the rest of the health care team to make sure you and your family's emotional needs are being met.


    The pharmacist will supply the medicine ordered by your doctor. He or she will watch to make sure your medicines work together without side effects.


    A dietitian will look at your food needs. He or she will help create a meal plan for you.

    Occupational therapist (OT)

    The occupational therapist will look at your ability to do everyday activities. These include eating, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, taking a bath, doing housework and going to the bathroom.

    He or she will also look at and treat stroke-related problems (such as memory, judgment or safety) and vision. The occupational therapist helps you gain arm strength and coordination.

    Physical therapist (PT)

    The physical therapist treats your problems with balance, coordination, strength, walking and transfers (getting yourself in and out of a chair, bed or car). He or she will help you learn to use aids such as canes, walkers or wheelchairs.

    The PT will teach you balance and strength exercises and help you practice walking and transfers. He or she will teach your family members how to help you walk, transfer and do exercises.

    Speech-language pathologist (SLP)

    A speech-language pathologist treats your problems with swallowing, speaking, understanding, reading and writing. He or she may also help you with your attention span, problem-solving and memory skills. He or she will help you regain language skills or teach you other ways to communicate.

    Therapeutic recreation specialist (recreational therapist)

    A therapeutic recreation specialist helps improve your activities of daily living and independence. He or she will provide recreation resources and opportunities to improve your health and well-being. He or she will help you return to the leisure activities you enjoy and to learn how to get around in your community.

    Social worker

    The social worker looks at your social and emotional needs and helps plan for your discharge needs. If you are going home, the social worker will see there is accessible housing and trained caregivers. He or she will help you and your family with decisions about a new living place, if needed.

    The social worker can also help get financial and insurance information.

    Stroke outreach volunteer

    A volunteer who is a stroke survivor will meet with you on a one-to-one basis. Ask your social worker for more information.

  • Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Understanding Stroke: Information about Stroke and Recovery, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-13-4
    Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts
    First published: 02/01/2006
    Last reviewed: 04/02/2013