Kelly Young, Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Patients who’ve had a stroke should be treated at an inpatient rehabilitation facility — either freestanding or within a hospital — instead of a skilled nursing facility, according to the first guidelines on stroke rehab from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Among the many other recommendations published in Stroke:

  • Stroke patients shouldn’t be discharged from the hospital until they’ve undergone a formal fall prevention program. This should address ways to make the home safer, reduce fall risk associated with certain medications, and safely use ambulatory assistive devices. For those with elevated fall risk or poor balance, balance training is recommended.
  • Patients with walking difficulties should undergo intense mobility­task training to relearn skills like stair climbing.
  • Patients with trouble focusing on close objects should be given eye exercises.
  • An exercise program should be designed for each individual aimed at continued improvements in cardiovascular fitness after formal rehab has ended.


Stroke article (Free abstract) Background: Physician’s First Watch coverage of post­stroke exercises (Free)