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Just curious if patients really do fully recover to their normal state after a stroke. There is some limb involvement, as well as speech. Assuming they do therapy, are their chances good?

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SunnyGirl, I'm so sorry to hear this.   You have so much on your plate now.    Your compassion is admirable, being concerned for an acquaintance while also caring for your family.

As to your question, as already written, it depends on the severity of the stroke, and the person.   I had a right side stroke in 2017, 10 days after the inauguration.   I'll let you and others infer what you will from that!

I thought I was having one but was more sure in the middle of the night.  However, I wasn't going to go out in the winter time in the wee hours of the morning, so I went out the next day.  I was right.   

I still have signs of the stroke in that my right side is larger (making getting shoes harder),  but other than that and occasionally succumbing to self-pity, it hasn't required anything else.  PT would have been helpful, but I was still taking care of Dad.

What I would suggest though is to search for Rehabilitation Institutes, or facilities (not rehab centers) that focus on TBI and related issues.   From what I've seen and learned, they offer more comprehensive rehab than just an ordinary rehab facility. 

In my area, the Rehab Institute of Michigan was affiliated with the DMC group of hospitals.  It was REALLY impressive, from what I saw.    I had therapy there once.  

Here's an example of one of their applications:   robotic exoskeletons:
https://www.rimrehab.org/our-services/exoskeletons

Acquainting yourself with their website will help you if you look for a rehab institute in your friend's area.   

https://www.rimrehab.org/

I also saw a stroke patient in rehab at the excellent center for another hospital, a nonprofit one.    Although I've only had private therapy with one company, I would never use them again.  I've always used hospital related PT sources until a doctor recommended the private one, where he just happened work before becoming a doctor.

If your friend's motives are strong, I think that's half the battle.  Support is another factor, and as I've noted, highly competent, diversified therapists.  

And I think moral support is another major factor.
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As it turns out, this stroke victim is able to walk, but, is still very weak. The speech is pretty mixed up. Words are sort of like word salad. I can imagine that is pretty frustrating. (This is for a family friend, not my LO, who is in end stage dementia.)
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If there is some movement in the effective limbs and understandable speech within 7 days of the stroke, then there's a good possibility of 90+% recovery of physical movement, speech, and swallowing within the first year after the stroke with PT. Many strokes are limited to the portion of the brain that controls movement and people can have near total recovery from this type of stroke. Strokes that impact the thinking and creative portions of the brain are the ones that can create problems, but even here other regions of the brain can retrain, particularly in younger people.

I have known a 86 year old man who physically recovered to normal walking over 2 years and went on to live another 10 years. My SIL had 3 small strokes after a cerebral aneurysm at age 42, recovered enough to walk with a cane and use utensils, then stopped PT due to depression and lost ground, eventually only limited functionality in her hand; the strokes also impacted her speech slightly and her vision enough that she could not drive or enjoy watching baseball anymore. My father had multiple TIAs beginning in his 50s but no major strokes and suffered vascular dementia, an "early" scan showed 8 dead areas in his brain as well as significant shrinkage; his personality and executive reasoning degraded greatly.
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It really depends upon what part of the brain is affected by the stroke. Some folks make pretty complete recoveries, some develop vascular dementia. I'm not sure that there is any way to predict recovery.
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I agree, it all depends on the brain damage involved. If they were an active person, they may work to get back to as normal as they can.

PT is physical therapy, OT is occupational. Physical pretty much explains itself. Occupational is where the stroke client is taught different ways to do things if the stroke effect a limb, lets say. OT tries to get the client independent again. And the more the client does for themselves the better. Improvement depends on the client too. They have to be willing to work.
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Okay. Thanks for that input. That helps a lot. I don't know the extent yet, but, think it was pretty severe. She was in the hospital for about a week. I'll just hope for the best. She is very motivated, so, I guess that will help.
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Geaton777 Nov 6, 2019
I think recovery also depends on the age of the stroke patient...the older they are, the more daunting it may be for them depending on the damage. Blessings!
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I would say it depends on the severity of the stroke, and the patient.

MIL's stroke was not severe, and even though it went undetected for several days, she made a near-full recovery. (mind you, she was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, so to my way of thinking, she didn't have as far to go - to make a "full" recovery, LOL)

A friend, had a larger stroke, never regained his speech fully, was able to walk, but had some weakness that remained on one side. And we've never been sure if he lost the ability to read (may have just lost the desire, but at any rate - quit reading after the stroke). His personality took a big hit afterwards as well.

Different friend, had a massive stroke, was in need of assistance for 6 months or more - did rehab during that time, and he may still be doing it. He's a few years recovered and he walks with a cane, has weakness on one side and a brace on one leg - but his speech is clear and thought process is very good.

So it's just a mixed bag. I do think, that the level of effort on the patient's part is critical for the recovery. If they are serious about rehab (PT, OT, Speech) that will serve them well!
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