Friday, December 10, 2010

Rehab At Home

Rehab is so little you will have to do more on your own, and when you need updates you will most likely have to research on your own and have to find exercises.  I know I have many therapies covered here so you can find them.  I'm writing this as if it's for the person receiving the services, but it may be 2 or more people, and may include, friends, family, significant others, or caregivers.  I used to do home early intervention programs for parents, so this comes natural.
1.  Know what you have.  Where was your bleed (this gives a clue on what you need)?  What are your limits?  What can you do?  Know your likes and dislikes.  Do you have any hobbies?  All this stuff has to be based on the here & now, not what you want or did.  The things you want to do can be goals you're working to.
2.  Get exercises from your therapist.  The easiest way is for them to provide a hand-out or write it down.  Next is you write it down.  Don't expect to remember it.  You might need these exercises 2 years from now and I doubt they will stay fresh in your memory.

3.  A good tip I learned was that commercials are just wasted time.  Do an exercise when they come on. 

4.  Take whatever you can get.  This may only be 30 days under disability.  You will need this to set up a home program, so get the report.  You will most likely need more, so setting up a home program makes sense.  Use your imagination.  The therapist probably used equipment you don't have, but you may be able to do something else to get the same results.  Modified.  This is a term used by therapists to describe an exercise that has been changed to accommodate the disability.  Don't be afraid to modify, or adapt, something.  Here's an example:  I did modified toe touches.  You'd think this not possible in a wheel chair.  What I did was bend over and touch the floor.  This created the same effect.

5.  If you want to address social skills, I suggest adding a game night (fun and who ever thought it was therapy?).

6.  Before your PT ends, ask the therapist for home exercises.  Preferably, these can be done on your own.  Some ideas are

7.  For OT, occupational therapy, same thing, ask for exercises.  Here's some OT ideas,  Also ask that person about any equipment (cost, ordering info, is it covered?  I once got a website address that's proved useful.)  This person can tell you all kinds of things about living independently, as that is their job.

8.  There are speech exercises at I copied a handout so all could use it.

9  When it comes time, go in and get re-assessed.  A lot don't know this, but although you use up your initial rehab, you can go in once a year to update that initial assessment (unless they change that too).  If it's the beginning of the year, and you are just bored with your exercises, look here and the internet first.  Don't use your only appointment.  You may need it later.


  1. Angela, great at-home rehab tips. You might also be interested in Madonna Siles' site at She is the caregiver for her best friend, who suffered a massive stroke. Her book, "Brain, Heal Thyself," is her guide to the effective rehab systems she developed out of desperation when her friend's insurance ran out early on. The book is valuable both for family caregivers and survivors of brain trauma.

  2. Barbara, nice good to suggest, but please understand that not all brain injured people like me, can afford all these books. I appreciate Angela for making this post about free therapies to do on your own.