Medical Matters for Drivers, Caregivers & Family Members

Mobility Challenges

Below are links to more information based on your mobility challenge.

Stroke

MobilityWorks and You

At MobilityWorks, we understand the desire of individuals who have been affected by a stroke to regain and maintain their own freedom and independence to get around. We also understand that each individual who has had a stroke has unique mobility needs and that those mobility needs may change through the years.

Our Certified Mobility Consultants can work with you to assess your current physical condition and mobility needs and discuss how those factors may change in the future.

By asking a series of questions such as:

  1. Are you currently using a cane or a scooter?
  2. Are you able to get into and out of a vehicle seat easily and safely?
  3. Are you able to drive?

 

Once we know the answers to these questions, we can determine whether adaptive seating or adaptive driving aids might be the best option for you.

Adaptive seating is designed to help you move into the front seat of a vehicle. Adaptive seating works through a remote control that allows the seat to move backward, forward, up, down and side-ways. You may find that adaptive seating may be the perfect solution for make entering and exiting your vehicle easier. In addition, you may find that adaptive driving aids such as hand controls, pedal extensions and steering knobs may make operating your vehicle easier as well.

Some individuals affected by a stroke may need to use a wheelchair for just a short period of time. In other cases, people may only need a wheelchair or scooter only for occasional situations in which they will need to move around a lot.

In either of these instances, the focus needs to be on how to equip yourself with what you need today. If your need is truly short-term, then renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle may make the most sense.

  • Wheelchair vans can be rented by the day, week or month
  • Wheelchair van rentals can be used to handle visits home, appointments and as a way to "try before you buy" when you are shopping for longer-term solutions.

If you will be using a wheelchair full-time, then a wheelchair accessible vehicle maybe the best option for you. If that is the case, we can evaluate the size/weight of your chair, as well as other factors such as your ability to drive, the number of people that will be transported in the vehicle, where it's parked/garaged and your budget to offer you options for mobility solutions.

At MobilityWorks we pride ourselves on developing long-lasting relationships with our customers. We want to ensure that you have the most appropriate mobility equipment for your needs—today and in the future.

Stroke Overview

A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die within just a few minutes. If brain cells die or are damaged due to a stroke, symptoms (and potentially permanent damage) occur in the parts of the body that these brain cells control.

Each year, nearly 800,000 people experience a stroke. Statistics indicate that someone experiences a stroke every 40 seconds and that stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

The two main types of stroke are ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic is the more common type of stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs in the blood vessels of the brain. Clots can form in the brain's blood vessels, in blood vessels leading to the brain or even in blood vessels elsewhere in the body, and then travel to the brain. The clots block blood flow to the brain's cells. Ischemic stroke can also occur when too much plaque (fatty deposits and cholesterol) clogs the brain's blood vessels.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures. The result is blood seeping into the brain tissue, causing damage to brain cells. High-blood pressure and aneurysms are examples of conditions that can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.

Another condition that is similar to a stroke is a transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA or "mini-stroke". A TIA occurs if blood flow to a portion of the brain is blocked only for a short time. Damage to the brain cells is not permanent with a TIA.

Beware of Early Symptoms

Symptoms which can indicate that a person is suffering or has suffered a stroke include; sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body, loss of speech, difficulty talking or understanding what others are saying. Additional symptoms include a sudden, severe headache with no known cause and/or loss of balance/unstable walking.

Being aware of the early symptoms of stroke is important, as research shows that a large percentage of strokes can be prevented. In addition, prompt treatment may also help prevent another stroke and/or help you avoid lasting disabilities.

Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for stroke are uncontrollable; including age, gender, race and family history of stroke. Men over the age of 65, particularly African American men are at a greater risk for stroke.

Other risk factors for stroke are controllable; including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and obesity.

Treatments and Rehabilitation Information

Rehabilitation is an important part of recovering from a stroke. Through rehabilitation, you relearn or regain basic skills such as speaking, eating, dressing or walking. Rehabilitation can be done in a hospital, a sub-acute care unit, a specialized rehabilitation hospital, with home therapy, outpatient therapy or in a long-term care facility. 

Researchers know that there is still so much that is not known about how the brain compensates for the damage caused by stroke. In some cases, the brain cells may be only temporarily damaged, not killed, and may resume functioning over time. In other cases, the brain can reorganize its own functioning. Every once in a while, a region of the brain even "takes over" for another region damaged by stroke.

Rehabilitation should begin in the hospital as soon as possible following a stroke. In patients who are stable, rehabilitation may begin within two days after the stroke has occurred, and should be continued as necessary after release from the hospital.

The long-term goal of rehabilitation is to improve function so that the stroke survivor can again be as independent as possible. To help you meet your stroke recovery goals, your rehab program will be planned by a team of professionals including:

  • Physiatrist---Specializes in rehabilitation following injuries, accidents or illness
  • Neurologist---Specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of stroke and other diseases of the brain and spinal cord
  • Rehabilitation Nurse----Specializes in helping people with disabilities; helps survivors manage health problems that affect stroke (diabetes, high blood pressure) and adjust to life after stroke
  • Physical Therapist (PT)---- Helps stroke survivors with problems with moving and balance. The PT suggests exercises to strengthen muscles for walking, standing and other activities
  • Occupational Therapist (OT)---- Helps stroke survivors learn strategies to manage daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, writing and/or cooking
  • Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP)---Helps stroke survivors re-learn language skills (talking, reading and writing)
  • Social Worker----Helps stroke survivors make decisions about rehab programs, living arrangements, insurance, and support services in the home
  • Neuropsychologist----Diagnoses and treats stroke survivors who may be facing changes in thinking, memory, and behavior after stroke
  • Case Manager----Helps survivors coordinate care from multiple providers and link to local services
  • Recreation Therapist----Helps stroke survivors learn strategies to improve the thinking and movement skills needed to join in recreational activities

Stroke survivors and their families can find workable solutions to most difficult situations by approaching them with patience, ingenuity, perseverance and creativity. Early recovery and rehabilitation can improve functions and sometimes result in remarkable, unprecedented recoveries for people who have suffered a stroke.

Research

Scientists at The University of Manchester have made an important new discovery about the brain's immune system that could lead to potential new treatments for stroke.

The study involved analyzing the role that inflammasomes (large protein complexes essential for the production of the anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-1) take in strokes.

Scientists have believed that Interleukin-1 contributes to cell death in the brain following a stroke.

The latest findings indicate that the inflammasome NLRP3, which was previously believed to be involved in inflammation and damage in the brain caused by stroke, is actually not involved. In fact it is the inflammasomes NLRC4 and AIM2 that contribute to brain injury.

The results were especially surprising because the researchers had long held that NLRC4 fought infections.

By better understanding how inflammation is regulated in the brain by inflammasomes, researchers can better develop drugs to limit the damage caused by inflammation.

In addition, the new discovery will also help researchers discover more about how inflammation is involved in brain injury and develop new drugs for the treatment of stroke. The findings may also be helpful with further research on Alzheimer's disease and depression, which may also be driven by inflammation of the brain. For more information, please visit the Medical News Today website.

Resources

Mobility Challenges

Below are links to more information based on your mobility challenge.

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