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Stroke: Your Rehabilitation Team

British Columbia Specific Information

A stroke is a brain injury caused by blood flow to the brain being blocked, or bleeding in the brain. After having a stroke you may experience physical, mental and emotional complications. These could include: weakness on one side of the body, joint pain, trouble walking, speech and language difficulties, trouble with memory or focusing, etc. Stroke rehabilitation programs can help you continue to live as independently as possible after a stroke, and to learn to adjust to the physical and mental changes caused by your stroke.

To find stroke recovery and rehabilitation programs in your area, search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory. For more information on stroke recovery, visit Heart and Stroke Foundation or Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia.

For more information on exercising to prevent a stroke or rehabilitation exercises after a stroke, call 8-1-1 to speak with a qualified exercise professional Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm PST. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Your stroke rehab team may include doctors and nurses who specialize in stroke rehab, as well as other professionals. Each team member will help you in specific ways. The team may include the following professionals.

Rehab doctor (physiatrist).

A rehab doctor is a specialist in charge of your rehab program. The doctor may also work on special problems, such as muscle cramps and spasms.

Rehab nurses.

Rehab nurses can help you in many ways. They may help you learn new ways to do daily activities. For example, they can help you learn how to:

  • Take care of your health, including a schedule for medicine.
  • Get from your bed to a wheelchair.
  • Bathe.
  • Control bowels or bladder.

A stroke often takes away a person's ability to move in certain ways. A physiotherapist helps you get back as much movement, balance, and coordination as possible.

Physiotherapy usually includes exercises. The exercises can help you get back your ability to walk and move as much as possible. It's important to practice these exercises over and over again.

Your therapist may also help you learn to use a wheelchair or walker. And they may teach you how to use stairs safely.

Occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist helps you practice daily tasks like eating, bathing, dressing, and writing. For example, they may help you learn how to:

  • Prepare meals and clean your house.
  • Drive your car.
  • Use tools and devices that can help if you no longer have full use of both hands. For example, velcro can replace buttons on clothing.
  • Get grab bars for your bathroom.
  • Make your home safe if you have strength, balance, or vision problems.

This therapist can also help you work on reading and writing skills.

Speech-language pathologist.

A speech-language pathologist can help you relearn how to talk or find new ways to express yourself.

Swallowing is sometimes a problem after a stroke. This therapist can help you improve your ability to swallow.


A dietitian can help you learn about nutrition and create a heart-healthy eating plan.

Psychologist or counsellor.

Emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration, and grief are common after a stroke. A psychologist or counsellor can help you deal with your emotions. They can also help you get treatment if you have depression.

Vocational counsellor.

Stroke can leave you with disabilities that make it hard to do your job. A vocational counsellor can help you return to your job or find a new one. They can help you:

  • Identify your current skills and prepare a new resume.
  • Search for a job.
  • Understand the laws that protect disabled workers.
Recreational therapist.

A recreational therapist helps you return to doing things you enjoy. This may include the arts, hobbies, sports, or leisure activities.

Social worker or case manager.

A social worker or case manager can help you and your caregivers arrange for the help and equipment you may need at home after you leave the rehab centre.


Current as of: December 19, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation