Stroke FAQs

Stroke FAQs

FAQ’s for Survivors and Family Members/Caregivers


Caregiver helping woman with walkerHow long does it take to recover?

Each stroke is different. The timetable for recovery depends on the extent of the stroke. Other medical complications also determine the length of the recovery process. Most of the recovery that is going to take place happens in approximately six months to one year. Patients continue to heal after that, but more slowly.


Will my loved one be the same as before the stroke?

After a stroke, the brain changes and will not be exactly the same as it was before. The person who survives a stroke can return to a life that is much the same as before, depending on how much damage to brain occurred and where it occurred. Younger adults show greater recovery than older adults do. It’s usually about six months after moderate and severe strokes before the doctors will be able to provide more information about long-term issues, such as returning to work.


How will my loved one cope with the stroke? Will he or she be depressed?

During the early stages recovery, the person with stroke may not be aware of the nature of the stroke or its consequences. As improvement occurs, increased understanding of the impact of the stroke grows. Frequent emotional reactions include sadness, difficulties with adjustment, or clinical depression. Feelings of sadness are normal after a stroke, but the sense of hopelessness that occurs with clinical depression impairs the ability to work with physical rehabilitation specialists to improve function over time. In many cases, depression caused by chemical imbalances from brain injury requires treatment with antidepressant medications.


How will I know if I can handle the patient at home?

After stroke, a patient’s ability to move themselves around their home environment may be impaired. The physical and occupational therapists can usually educate the primary caregiver in methods for adapting the home and how to help their loved ones with basic mobility tasks.


Who will get the equipment and set up outpatient or home health visits?

The rehabilitation team will decide what equipment is needed and speak with the doctor or social worker/case manager. The case manager will secure appointments and equipment prior to discharge in consultation with the insurance company or patient and family.


How do I know if my home is accessible?

Depending upon the patient’s level of mobility and distance of the discharge destination, the occupational therapist can evaluate the home and make recommendations.


What should I do to prepare the home environment for my loved one’s discharge?

Your occupational therapist may need to do a home evaluation to make suggestions for adapting the home. In addition, the rehabilitation team may provide handouts of helpful suggestions, such as wheelchair ramp dimensions. Usually insurance does not cover home changes. The changes are the responsibility of each individual patient or family to have these changes made. Some communities have resources, groups or organization that can assist this process.


Can I drive after the stroke?

Usually the physician will not recommend return to driving immediately after a stroke. This is because injury to the brain may cause slow reflexes, decreased attention and memory, poor insight, vision and perception problems. Due to these issues, driving without your physician’s permission is not recommended. Driving safety evaluations are available in Hawaii for patients who want to return to driving after a stroke.


For more information on recovery and rehabilitation from stroke, please visit:


For more information on the following topics, please click on the link below:


Stroke Diagnosis


Stroke and Rehabilitation


Stroke Rehab Guidelines: Recommendations for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility and Best Outcomes


Complications After Stroke


Driving After Stroke


Emotional Changes After Stroke


Feeling Tired After Stroke


Living at Home After Stroke


Stroke and Aphasia