Using a Comprehensive Care Approach for Poststroke Recovery: Harmony Sierens, MD


The medical director of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Ascension Genesys Hospital provided her clinical perspective on what comprehensive care looks like for the millions of patients who experience stroke and are recovering. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"Stroke recovery is a complex journey, and a multidisciplinary team is the key to unlocking the full potential of individuals on their path to rehabilitation. Our goal is to understand each patient's unique aspirations, whether it's regaining independence or mastering a one-handed golf swing, and tailor our approach with a diverse team of specialists."

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability of which the effects may be prolonged with consequences for the patients in recovery physically, emotionally, socially, and financially. According to a research paper published in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, the implementation of a stroke care unit has transformed treatment for patients in having an effective recovery post stroke.1 This encompasses health professionals working together to bring their knowledge and specialist skills to benefit patients. Thus, evidence shows that having a multidisciplinary team is regarded as fundamental to delivering effective care for poststroke patients.

For many poststroke patients, spasticity is a common condition which can cause muscle tightness and may prevent patients from completing simple tasks in their daily life. Additional research published in the Journal of Central Nervous System Disease has shown that those with spasticity usually requires long lasting care and interventions, yet frequently report that outpatient and community treatment is limited.2 Overall, evidence shows that rehabilitation and spasticity management services are essential for patient recovery but access to these specialist services can be limited which highlights an unmet need for patients.

Harmony Sierens, MD, a physiatrist, sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to discuss different aspects of poststroke care, including poststroke spasticity and the importance of a care team. Sierens, who is also the medical director of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Ascension Genesys Hospital, spoke about how a physiatrist-led team collaborates with various specialists to address the diverse goals of patients recovering from stroke. Sierens talked about how assistive technology professionals contribute to enhancing mobility and independence for patients in stroke recovery. She also explained the role that neuropsychologists play in objectively assessing cognitive abilities and helping patients make informed decisions about their poststroke lifestyle.

1. Clarke DJ, Forster A. Improving post-stroke recovery: the role of the multidisciplinary health care team. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2015;8:433-442. Published 2015 Sep 22. doi:10.2147/JMDH.S68764
2. Bavikatte G, Subramanian G, Ashford S, Allison R, Hicklin D. Early Identification, Intervention and Management of Post-stroke Spasticity: Expert Consensus Recommendations. J Cent Nerv Syst Dis. 2021;13:11795735211036576. Published 2021 Sep 20. doi:10.1177/11795735211036576

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