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The goal of rehabilitation is to reduce dependence and improve physical ability. Rehabilitation begins early when nurses and other hospital staff work to prevent such complications as stiff joints, pressure sores and pneumonia, which can result from being immobile or confined to bed for a long time.

People with the least severe strokes are likely to recover the most. But even when improvement is limited, the person should benefit from stroke unit care and may still enable the person to return home from hospital. Part of rehabilitation is aimed at helping the person adapt to physical weakness or other problems caused by the stroke. Treatment of depression, proper bed and sitting/wheelchair positioning following a stroke, are all regarded as part of rehabilitation. The amount of therapy given and the time when it starts is governed by the effects of the stroke and the amount of recovery that takes place over the weeks and months following the stroke and obviously the availability of a full rehabilitation team. The intensity of therapy will be a matter for the person, his/her therapists and the doctor to discuss. The outcome of rehabilitation depends on the extent to which the brain is affected, the person’s attitude, the rehabilitation team's expertise and very importantly the support of family and friends.

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