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Stroke—Self-Care

Performing your routine tasks may be difficult after you’ve had a stroke (brain attack). But many patients can learn ways to manage their daily activities. In fact, daily activities may help you to regain muscle strength and bring back function to affected limbs.

Woman in robe turning on water in shower. Shower chair is in shower stall. Grab bar and handheld showerhead are installed.

Bathing and Dressing

By learning a few new ways of doing things, most patients can bathe and dress themselves. You may want to try the following:

  • Test water temperature with a hand or foot that was not affected by the stroke.

  • Use grab bars, a shower seat, a hand-held shower, and a long-handled brush.

  • Dress while sitting, starting with the affected side or limb.

  • Put on shirts that pull over the head, and pants or skirts with elastic waistbands.

  • Use zippers with loops attached to them.

Managing Bladder and Bowel Problems

After your stroke, you may not be able to control your bladder and bowels. Nurses will work closely with you to set up a new routine.

  • You may be taken to the toilet on a schedule — perhaps every 2 hours to 3 hours. Making a bathroom stop before going out may work well.

  • A time may be set to empty the bowel.

  • Absorbent briefs or a condom catheter (a small bag that fits over the penis) may be used.

  • You can use adult diapers if you need to.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cobbs, Charles M., M.D.
Online Medical Reviewer: Greenberg, Arnold
Last Review Date: 10/13/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.