My Health Care Team
Doctors supervise the overall medical care of individuals who have had a stroke. Different types of doctors may include: a family doctor, a neurologist (specialist who deals with the nervous system), a physiatrist (rehabilitation specialist), and other specialists such as a cardiologist (deals with the heart).
Neuropsychologists help people understand how a stroke has affected their ability to mentally function and manage daily life, work or school. Many of the tests they do measure how well a person can read, concentrate, solve problems, pay attention and plan their day.
Neuropsychiatrists offer unique services and education for persons with stroke who are having difficulties such as depression and anxiety.
Nurses work closely with persons with stroke and their caregivers to help manage their health and personal care needs such as taking medications, bathing, dressing and toileting. Nurses may include: a registered nurse (RN), a registered practical nurse (RPN), a nurse practitioner (NP) and a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
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 on the purpose, side effects, cost, and safety of medications.
Physiotherapists assess mobility and factors which impact physical function. 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.
Occupational Therapist (OT)
Occupational therapists assess, treat, provide education and teach skills that enable safe and independent living in the home and community. They support participation in activities such as work, school, driving and child care.
Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)
Speech-language pathologists assess and provide strategies 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.
Social Worker (SW)
Social workers help people cope with feelings of anger, sadness, depression, confusion, and anxiety. Social workers offer counselling, assist with planning for the future and coordinating community support services.
Recreation therapists assess and develop a treatment plan based on a person’s leisure interests. They provide education about the skills and resources needed to promote participation in hobbies and other interests to help achieve independence.
Registered Dietitian (RD)
Registered dietitians assess and develop a nutrition plan. They provide counselling on food preparation for those who have difficulties swallowing. They also provide education on healthy eating, managing diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
Other professionals may also be part of the care team. An orthotist may make special braces to support weak joints and muscles. An urologist may help with bladder problems. Other physician specialists may help with medical or emotional problems. Vocational counselors may help patients to go back to work or school.