A team of health professionals caring for you may include:
Doctors supervise the overall medical care of people who have had a stroke. Some types of doctors that may be part of the care team are:
- a family doctor
- a neurologist (doctor who specializes in the nervous system)
- a physiatrist (rehabilitation specialist)
- a cardiologist (doctor who specializes in the heart)
- a neuropsychiatrist (doctor who specializes in depression and anxiety)
- a neuropsychologist (doctor who specializes in mental function such as concentration and problem solving)
- A neuro-ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialize in visual problems related to the nervous system)
Nurses work closely with persons with stroke and their caregivers to help manage and educate about health and personal care needs, such as taking medications, bathing, dressing and toileting.
Some types of nurses that may be part of the care team are:
- a registered nurse (RN)
- a registered practical nurse (RPN)
- Advanced Practice Nurses (APN)
- a nurse practitioner (NP)
- a clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
Occupational Therapists (OT)
Occupational therapists assess, treat, provide education and teach skills that enable safe and independent living in the home and community (e.g. personal care, cooking, grocery shopping). They help people resume activities such as work, school, driving and child care.
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
An occupational therapy assistant works under the direction of an occupational therapist to help persons with stroke do activities that support their recovery. They also keep track of how the person is doing and help them reach their goals for daily life.
Personal Care Assistants (PCA)
Personal Care Assistants help persons with stroke to manage their daily personal care such as bathing, dressing and toileting. They may provide care in hospitals or at home. They may also be called Personal Support Workers (PSW).
Pharmacists prepare and dispense medications. They provide education and counselling about the purpose, side effects, cost, and safety of medications.
Physiotherapists assess mobility and what affects a person’s ability to move. They develop a treatment plan to improve strength, balance, coordination and mobility, and help plan for next steps in stroke recovery. The physiotherapist may suggest specific mobility aids to promote safety and independence.
Physiotherapy Assistant (PTA)
A physiotherapy assistant works under the direction of a physiotherapist to assist with exercises and treatments that can help improve strength, flexibility, and overall movement.
Social Workers (SW)
Social workers offer counselling to help people cope with feelings of anger, sadness, depression, confusion, and anxiety. Social workers can help with applications for financial assistance, planning for the future and coordinating community support services.
Speech-Language Pathologists (S-LP)
Speech-language pathologists assess and provide ways to help people who have trouble swallowing. They also assess and treat people who have trouble speaking, understanding, reading and/or writing. They can help by providing activities to improve speech and teach other ways to communicate.
Recreation therapists assess and develop a treatment plan based on a person’s leisure interests. They help people learn the skills and resources needed to take part in hobbies and other interests to help achieve independence.
Registered Dietitians (RD)
Registered dietitians assess and develop a nutrition plan. They help people learn how to prepare food for those who have difficulties swallowing. They also help people learn about healthy eating, managing diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
Other professionals may also be part of the care team:
- An orthotist makes special braces to support weak joints and muscles.
- A urologist helps with bladder problems.
- Vocational counselors help people to go back to work or school.
You, your family and/or caregivers, and community service providers are also important members of this team.
To learn more about what some of these professionals do, click here.