Understanding Strokes

Written by CWD Editor
Last updated Thursday February 17 2022

Strokes is a serious health condition caused by a cut off of blood supply to the brain. Although a stroke is a medical emergency that can happen at any time, it often leaves long term side effects, some of which you can’t recover from. For this reason, a stroke is similar to many disabilities and deserves the same attention, support and awareness.

In this article, we want to help our readers understand better strokes, including what they are, why they happen, and the recovery process. We will also be discussing how to manage the long-lasting impacts of strokes in the workplace.

What are Strokes?

A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the body cuts off blood supply to the brain. If you think you or somebody else is having a stroke, you must call an ambulance immediately. Strokes can be life-threatening and can leave people with long-term brain damage; the quicker a person can access medical attention, the less likely this is to happen.

The NHS has come up with an easy way to remember the symptoms of a stroke to ensure that more people can correctly identify a stroke and get the correct medical attention as early as possible. The word FAST is an acronym for each of the significant symptoms:

  • Face (Look out for the eyes and mouth drooping on one side)
  • Arms (Check if the person can lift their arms)
  • Speech (slurred speech or difficulty comprehending speech is an early sign of a stroke)
  • Time (time to ring an ambulance)

What Happens After a Stroke?

The impact of a stroke varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the stroke. A stroke is usually treated with medication and various rehabilitation therapies to help people relearn the skills they need to live an independent life. The injury to the brain left by a stroke means that some people may never fully recover and be left with a lifelong disability. This may mean that they can live independently but need visits from carers to support daily living, or it could mean that somebody is never able to live independently again.

The recovery from a stroke can be a long and challenging process; families and careers and stroke survivors must receive the sufficient support and care they need. There are some incredible charities across the UK working to make this happen, including:

Stroke Recovery and the Workplace

While some people may never be able to return to work in the same capacity as before their stroke, others, like many people with disabilities, can find a way to lead an independent life through work.

You must take your time when considering returning to work. The severity of the stroke and its impact will determine when a person is ready to return to work. With plenty of planning and support, it can be an achievable goal for many stroke survivors. Make sure to speak to your GP, support network and employer when considering returning to work.

Like many other disabilities, you may need additional support at work to compete for the job. An employer is obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments‘ to help your return to work and reduce the impact of your stroke on your work. These adjustments may include:

  • Physical changes to your work environment
  • Changes to your work schedule
  • Emtotional and psychological support to deal with the aftermath of a stroke
  • Financial support

For more information on managing a disability at work, visit our disability advice hub.

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Last Updated: Thursday February 17 2022

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