Does Getting Out of the Hospital Bed Right Away Improve Stroke Recovery?

stroke recovery

Cleveland Clinic finds that moving soon after stroke helps recovery

NPR recently published an article about a 600 patient research study at the Cleveland Clinic. They found that getting stroke patients up and moving as soon as possible improved their recovery.

The study found that patients who were helped out of bed as soon as the first day they were admitted to the ICU recovered better. They spent less time in the ICU, less time in the hospital, had fewer pressure sores, and spent less time on ventilators.


Why moving helps stroke recovery

Getting up, moving, and even going outside are familiar activities that stimulate the brain’s natural rewiring process. Dr. Edward Manno, director of the Neurointensive Care Unit at the Cleveland Clinic, says that this movement may actually speed the brain’s recovery process.

During recovery, the brain has to form new connections to compensate for what was lost during the stroke. In animal studies, neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to form new connections) is increased after an injury. If that’s also true in humans, patients have a better chance at recovery if they get up and move around sooner. It helps their brains get started rebuilding those connections.

It’s no easy task to get these patients out of bed. It can take multiple nurses and the use of special lift equipment. But the theory is that even moving from the bed to a nearby chair can make a big impact on a stroke patient’s recovery.


More research is needed

But there’s still a lot of research to be done and a lot that doctors still don’t know. “We are just scratching the surface here,” says Dr. Manno.

A different study, the AVERT study of 2000+ stroke patients, found that patients could be negatively affected if getting up and moving after stroke happens too soon and too frequently.

Both studies do agree that some movement is good. Professor Julie Bernhardt, the AVERT study leader, says, “We do know from previous studies that patients in stroke units who receive earlier rehabilitation than patients on general medical wards have better outcomes. So our message is not that patients should stay in bed for days.”


Bottom line

So, researchers agree that getting patients moving after stroke improves their recovery. The next step is to find the right timing, frequency, and intensity for this movement to help patients recover better and faster.

It’s smart for caregivers to keep up with the latest news and research so they can discuss potential treatments with their senior’s doctors. But, it’s just as important to be informed about limitations or areas where the research is still fuzzy.


Next Step  Read the full article at NPR


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Small Business Trends


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