Hey, Hospital Administrators: Be the First to Revolutionize the Healthcare System for Stroke Survivors

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I have thoughts, good ones at that, even though I had a hemorrhagic stroke and a portion of my brain cells died, never to appear again. That’s all right. I compensate with little tricks that make me able to pretend I have the brain I was born with. 
But just talk, no action has been the status quo with stroke survivors, even though they contribute to one of the most disabling conditions. So I’m going to dare hospitals to do this because no hospital has done it before–revolutionize healthcare for stroke survivors. 
Hospital Administration

Greetings and with all due respect to hospital administrators. You have a difficult job, keeping the balance between doctors and nurses (some of whom are un-balanced) and the rest of the staff running smoothly, or just running. You aren’t afraid of suggestions, are you? Well, then, use your smiling (albeit even if you don’t feel like it) visages to approach this thought. 

Your facility could be “on the map” even more than it currently is. Be the hospital that stands out from the rest if you follow this one revolutionary suggestion for stroke survivors.

Before I tell you what “it” is, don’t tell me you can’t afford it because, truth be told, it’s the missing piece. Doctors and RNs and the rest of the staff don’t need perks, like the spreads you lay out for them, to keep them loyal. Just saving on food alone could make this idea more of a reality. If they really want to help people, and I’m sure most of them do, they’ll stay put in your hospital. And your salary more than justifies my proposal. Ready?

When a stroke patient is admitted, have a psych team at the ready as soon as the patient is awake and comprehending, who reads the survivor some strict rules every day for at least a week BEFORE therapy starts. Crying will most likely happen. And that’s all right. Emotional release.

Let me give you background on this thought because I’ve been thinking about it ever since I had my stroke eight and a half years ago. 

I was depressed (it went on for a year, less and less after that) and thus, at times, I was non-compliant. I was in a coma for 8 days and didn’t talk for 5 weeks. And that was the easy part. What’s the tough part, you ask? From the time I started talking, I would always ask questions at Bacharach Rehabilitation in Pomona, NJ, questions that could have been answered by the not-yet-formed psych team before I started therapy.

Instead, a question to the therapist: “What happens if I don’t do leg lifts?” 
An answer from the therapist: “Just do them, ok?”
An answer from the not-yet-formed psych team: “Do everything the therapist says or else you’ll be in a wheelchair longer.”

A question to the nurse: “Why should I wear support stockings?”
An answer from the nurse: “Because you should.”
An answer from the not-yet-formed psych team: “Do everything the nurses say or else you’d delay getting better.”

A question to the doctor: “Do I really have to wear the eye patch for double vision?”
An answer from the  doctor: “Didn’t you comprehend what I just told you?” 
An answer from the not-yet-formed psych team: “Do everything the doctors tell you because they’re trained to give you good advice.”

A psych team. For at least a week. Every day. Before therapy starts. To get stroke survivors ready to bust their asses and cooperate with the staff. Who’s ready? Anyone? Anyone? Contact me through email and I’ll go anywhere in the continental US to make this happen. 

I have thoughts indeed.

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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Joyce Hoffman
5 years ago

I appreciate your comments. But Angie, every day? To everyone who had a stroke for at least a week's worth of time? Stroke survivors often shut down in the beginning, and a recurrent pounding with information on what it takes to get better is a great thing. Do you agree?

Joyce Hoffman
5 years ago

Thank you, Anonymous, your comments are spot on!

6 years ago

they could give us things in writing. THEY expect US to remember everything, even while telling us that our memories have been affected.
give ALL exercises in writing at end of session, so we can remember what to do later when they are not around.

my dr's and aides were great. others not so much. too bad when you are fighting to regain any scrap of independence, somedays felt like all they were were interested in was me being compliant.

love your blog!

6 years ago

Joyce Hoffman, I have worked with many patients that have had a stroke and answered all of the above questions plus many more in the same manner you think this "psych-team" would providing lots of education for the "what we are doing", "why we are doing it", and "what to expect from doing and/or not doing it". I am so sorry if you didn't get the care you needed and I'm sorry clinicians didn't give you all the information you needed for the best possible recovery.

Joyce Hoffman
6 years ago

oc1dean: The medical multidisciplinary team as well.

6 years ago

I think the 'riot act' is directed in the wrong direction, it should be directed at your stroke medical multidisciplinary team.

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