STROKE / CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENT (CVA)

About the Condition

Cerebral vascular accidents, more commonly known as a stroke, occur in two different ways by different causes.

The majority of strokes, about 80% are called ischematic strokes and are caused by stopped blood flow to brain, usually due to a blood clot blocking the blood vessel and therefore not enough oxygen getting to the brain.

The rupture of blood vessels, or hemorrhagic strokes, causes the other 20%.  Depending on the area of the brain where cells are denied oxygen determines what symptoms individuals have.

Many people recover from strokes fully to lead full and active lives afterwards and a specialist chair may be needed only during rehabilitation.

For others who suffer a more ‘dense’ or damaging stroke, rehabilitation may take longer and may not be as effective.  In this case, a specialist chair may be used in the long term to help this person function and to alleviate some of the problems resulting from the stroke.

Symptoms

Early signs of a stroke are:

  • Trouble walking.
  • Problems with speech (slurring of words) and understanding.
  • Paralysis or numbness in face (facial drooping) or limbs.
  • Vision trouble in one or both eyes.
  • Headaches that may also include dizziness and vomiting.

Other, longer-term complications include:

  • Paralysis/loss of muscular movement- usually on one side of the body.
  • Trouble talking and with communication.
  • Aphasia- difficulty with language.
  • Dysarthria- slurred speech.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Memory loss/thinking difficulties (judgment problems).
  • Pain, numbness and strange sensations.
  • Behavioural changes.

Useful Tips for Patients & Caregivers

Aim for a “new normal.” Depending on the degree of rehabilitation, life could be different after a stroke.
The following tips may help too;

  • Celebrate any bit of progress during recovery.

  • Allow time for rest and recuperation.
  • Accept that once easy tasks may be more difficult.
  • Get out of the house. Even though patients suffering from a stroke tend to be slower moving, it is good to get a change of scene and participate in social activities.
  • Don’t get frustrated when communication is hard. Relax and take your time.
  • Use props, gestures and signals to convey what you are trying to say.
  • Caregivers should ask easy questions that don’t require a lot of thought or a lot of words in order to give an answer.

SEATING FOR STROKE

Read about Clodagh Dunlop’s experience as she tells her story of how important seating was for her after she suffered a brainstem stroke at the age of just 35.

READ BLOG

REAL PATIENT CASE STUDY

As a result of her stroke, Margaret, 81, had left sided weakness which created an imbalance in weight distribution and a high risk of pressure injuries.

READ MARGARET’S STORY

Selecting the Right Chair

It is very important that the chair you choose is adjustable to allow it to meet the changing needs of the person as their condition changes. Cognitive and physical changes may reduce the patient’s ability to ‘learn’ and ‘operate’ new products and operations and so having a chair that will adjust easily and can add accessories as needed will ensure continuity and familiarity.

The Sorrento™, Phoenix™ and Monaco™ chairs in particular are designed with features to suit the functional and clinical needs of patients who have suffered from a stroke.  These three Seating Matters chairs are all highly adjustable and accessories can be included at a later date if they are not needed at the initial assessment.  Supports can be added or replaced to help with rehabilitation exercises.  This allows the one chair to meet the user’s changing needs over a long period of time.

For individuals recovering from a stroke that have a good level of head control but need support in their trunk, perhaps to provide support for a hemiplegia, the Sorrento chair with added lateral supports is a perfect rehabilitation tool.

For others who may have suffered a more dense stroke, the Phoenix chair provides more comprehensive head and trunk support to and can be used for rehabilitation as the supports can be easily added and taken away as and when they are required.

Both the Sorrento and Phoenix come in manual and powered options. Manual adjustment leaves the control of the seating positions to the caregiver. Partially motorized options give the user of the chair more independent control to change the angle of tilt in space and their leg elevation as and when desired.  Fully motorized options give the user of the chair control to change the angle of tilt in space, their leg elevation and the back angle recline as and when desired.

For a milder stroke that results in immediate rehabilitations, the Monaco chair is often the best option.

Bear in mind, each person is different and so you must use clinical judgement, knowledge of the patient, environmental considerations and personal preferences before deciding on which Seating Matters chair to use.