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 Stroke Rehabilitation Program

The Stroke Rehabilitation Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center provides comprehensive, rehabilitative care for people who have experienced a stroke. Mobility, communication, swallowing, and thinking abilities may be affected by stroke depending on where it occurs in the brain and the extent of injury.

Just as a stroke’s effects vary, so does the recovery process. As part of an academic medical center, we provide personalized care programs with evidence-based therapies to help you reach your highest level of recovery and quality of life.

Our Patients

We serve patients from young adult through geriatric and provide rehabilitative care for people affected by:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke (when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain)
  • Ischemic stroke (when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain)
  • Other disorders that can cause damage to the brain (such as multiple sclerosis or brain tumors)

Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

There are many reasons to choose our programs and services:

  • We offer you a continuum of specialized rehabilitative care:
    • Acute hospitalization (begins immediately after stroke)
    • Inpatient therapy (while hospitalized)
    • Outpatient therapy (after discharge from the hospital)
  • We are proud that our Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs at Dodd Hall and Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF recognized our programs as meeting the highest standards in quality, safety and outcome measures, which provide risk-reduction and accountability in our patient care.
  • Our inpatient stroke program at Dodd Hall was the first in Ohio to be awarded CARF accreditation.
  • We are the only rehabilitation program in central Ohio certified for both traumatic brain injury and stroke.
  • Our rehabilitation process includes a team of healthcare professionals with different areas of expertise who work together to meet your specific goals.
  • You benefit from working with staff who have specialized training and certification in stroke related treatments and therapies.
  • We have the only facility in central Ohio to have a board-recognized specialist in swallowing disorders.
  • We offer a specialized educational series for you and your family that is dedicated to stroke recovery.
  • Our rehabilitation specialists have pioneered and refined important therapies and technologies related to stroke rehabilitation. One of these new treatments for stroke is the use of Botox®. Given as an injection in very small amounts directly to a specific muscle, Botox® blocks the transmission of nerve impulses and helps relax spastic muscles.
  • For 19 consecutive years, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's rehabilitation program has been ranked among the best in the country by U.S.News & World Report.
  • Since The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is an academic medical center, you benefit from innovative research, a depth of medical expertise and the newest technologies and treatment techniques available.

Our Services

The Stroke Rehabilitation Program offers rehabilitation services to help in each phase of your rehabilitation – from services offered in the hospital (known as inpatient services) to those offered after returning home (known as outpatient services). These services offer a continuum of care to help achieve your highest level of recovery.

Your rehabilitation program may include:

  • Adaptive technology devices (assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, braces and special computer equipment, and technology) for easier home and work activities
  • Augmentative communication assessment and training to determine communication needs and appropriate aids and techniques
  • Aquatic therapy (rehabilitation exercises performed in a warm water therapeutic pool)
  • Arts therapy (uses the creative process to help patients improve physical skills, thinking skills and emotional well-being)
  • Cognitive therapy (helps with thinking and understanding skills)
  • Functional electrical stimulation (uses low levels of electrical current to stimulate physical or bodily functions lost through paralysis)
  • Locomotor training (LT) (a method of physical therapy where the patient
    is suspended in a harness over a treadmill, while specially-trained therapists move their legs to simulate walking)
  • Botox®, nerve blockade and baclofen pump therapy (to reduce spasticity and tightness in selected muscle groups)
  • Medications for cognitive, communication and motor skill recovery
  • Neurological diagnostic tests (such as CT scan, MRI and EMG)
  • Neuromodulation (the use of neurological pacemakers and other devices to deliver electrical signals, medications and other therapeutic agents precisely into the brain, spinal cord and nervous system)
  • Neuropsychological evaluations (measure concentration, learning and other skills)
  • Pain management (care that alleviates or reduces pain)
  • Rehabilitation psychology (behavioral and psychological treatment for patients and families coping with chronic illness, chronic pain and disability)
  • Occupational therapy (helps patients participate in activities of daily living)
  • Patient education focused on lifestyle adjustments
  • Physical therapy (helps patients improve strength, mobility and fitness)
  • Bioness technology (electrical stimulation medical devices designed to help people gain mobility and function)
  • Saeboflex technology (a hand orthotic that helps maximize arm and hand function following a neurological injury)
  • Serial casting for contracture management (casts are reapplied to stretch and maintain the new lengthened position of hyperactive muscle groups)
  • Advanced splinting (splints applied to wrists, hands, ankles and feet to help lengthen muscle groups and prevent deformity)
  • Optokinetic training (exercises and activities to increase visual field and visual perception)
  • Real world simulations (such as community reentry and independent living apartment)
  • Respiratory therapy (treatment of breathing disorders using respirators or aerosol medications)
  • Return-to-work training
  • Driver training
  • Speech therapy (treatment of speech and communication disorders)
  • Videofluoroscopy, fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation for swallowing, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation to diagnose and treat swallowing disorders
  • Recreational therapy (helps patients engage in recreational and leisure activities to enhance community participation and satisfaction)
  • Vision evaluation and vision therapy (therapy for the eyes and brain)
  • Counseling
  • Case management (coordination of inpatient and post-hospital care and services for patients and families)
  • Vestibular therapy (exercise-based program that helps improve balance)

Your Treatment Plan

Our rehabilitative programs help you overcome stroke damage with treatment plans that may include:

  • Optimizing brain plasticity (rewiring the brain for recovery)
  • Exercising to help improve strength, swallowing, communication and thinking
  • Enhancing skills needed to perform daily activities
  • Developing strategies to compensate for functional deficits
  • Adapting leisure activities for good quality of life

Your Treatment Team

Your personalized treatment plan is implemented by a team of specialists who may include:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians or physiatrists (specialize in helping people regain body functions lost due to medical conditions or injuries)
  • Neurologists (specialize in disorders of the nervous system)
  • Neurosurgeons (specialize in surgery on the brain and other parts of the nervous system)
  • Neuropsychologists (specialize in the effects that injury to or diseases of the brain and spinal cord have on emotions, behavior and learning)
  • Certified rehabilitation nurses (specialize in the care of the chronically ill and injured)
  • Physical therapists (specialize in helping patients achieve maximum strength, balance and mobility)
  • Occupational therapists (specialize in improving patients’ ability to complete activities of daily living)
  • Speech-language pathologists (specialize in helping patients improve communication, cognition and swallowing)
  • Recreational therapists (specialize in providing education and community-based interventions to improve patients’ physical, mental, social and emotional well being)
  • Respiratory therapists (specialize in assessing and treating breathing disorders)
  • Dietitians (specialize in nutrition and dietetics)
  • Social workers (specialize in the social, emotional and financial needs of families and patients)
  • Case managers (specialize in the coordination of inpatient and post-hospital care and services for patients and families)
  • Rehabilitation engineers (specialize in determining, implementing and training patients on assistive technology devices, such as wheelchairs, special computer workstations and remote control systems)

Care Locations

Additional Specialized Services

Your rehabilitation team may recommend additional rehab services that may include:

Additional Resources


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