Prevention is the best option

Health tips to care for patients who have suffered a stroke

Cures per a pacients amb ictus

A stroke is a clinical syndrome characterised by rapid development of signs of neurological involvement lasting more than 24 hours. A stroke, vascular in origin, is considered a medical emergency that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment.



Recommendations and treatment for relatives and carers




  • Talk naturally to the patient.
  • Speak slowly using easy words and short sentences and helping with gestures.
  • Ask questions with yes and no answers.
  • Give them time to respond. Do not show impatience when it comes to responding and do not try and answer for them.
  • Do not shout.
  • You can use alternative means of communication, such as boards with everyday images on them.



The degree of movement will depend on each patient.

  • Try to encourage them to do the exercises recommended by the physiotherapist.
  • Move joints and avoid incorrect positions.
  • When moving a patient, never touch the affected side.
  • Avoid long periods in the same position, change the patient’s position every four hours.
  • Use cushions or pillows to protect areas that rub.
  • It is important that the patient is out of bed for as long as possible. 
  • When they first start to walk, stop them from falling


Sleep and rest


  • Create a quiet atmosphere.
  • Avoid letting them sleep during the day, except during one afternoon nap.
  • Provide a source of light so that they can orientate themselves during the night.




  • Always taking into account the patient’s condition, try to have them help as much as possible with their own personal hygiene.
  • Dry them properly and make sure to dry skin folds.
  • Hydrate and protect the skin.
  • Do not give them alcoholic drinks because they cause dry skin.
  • Watch bony prominences to prevent pressure sores.
  • Never forget oral hygiene.


Getting dressed


  • Use comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off (tracksuit, elasticated, etc.) And shoes that fit properly.
  • Start dressing the patient on the affected side and undressing them on the side that is not affected.
  • Try to make sure they are sitting down when dressing and undressing them.
  • Use shoehorns.
  • Remember that the patient feels the same degree of cold or heat as the carer, do not give them too many layers.


Architectural obstacles


  • Remove obstacles (such as rugs and chairs) that may be trip hazards.
  • Adapt the home to the new situation (fitting bars, a taller toilet or shower, etc.).


Going to the toilet


Constipation is the most common problem. The following advice is recommended to avoid it:

  • Follow a diet rich in fibre
  • Establish a fixed routine for going to the toilet
  • Promote mobility. 
  • Go to the toilet when possible.
  • Laxatives or enemas may be provided on prescription.


To combat diarrhoea the patient should:


  • Eat more dry foods.
  • See a doctor if they have diarrhoea for more than two days.


Passing urine


  • Take note of the quantity and frequency of urine (incontinence, urine infection and retention).
  • If the patient is incontinent, use pads or slips.
  • Keep the skin clean and dry, use protective ointments.
  • If there is only a small amount of incontinence, encourage bladder retraining.
  • Suggest they go to the toilet more often.
  • The patient must drink one and a half litres of liquid a day and reduce liquid intake from late afternoon onwards.




  • A varied diet rich in proteins and fibre and low in salt is recommended, avoiding fats and fried foods.
  • If the patient has difficulty swallowing (dysphagia):
    • Adopt the correct position, making sure that the patient is seated upright.
    • Feed them on the healthy side.
    • Avoid distractions.
    • Use small mouthfuls, do not use straws or small bottles.
    • If they have a cough, use thickeners when indicated.
    • Food should be given in small portions bit by bit, make sure that pieces are not left in their mouth.


Leisure and recreational activities


  • Try to ensure that the patient continues to have a social life and keeps up with their interests, bearing in mind their limitations.
  • Keep the patient distracted.
  • Avoid the patient becoming isolated.




  • It is normal for patients to lose their sexual desire initially. This will gradually recover over the course of a few months.
  • It is very important to talk to their partner about any fears they may have.
  • Fear of suffering another stroke during sex is generally unfounded.
  • Ask the doctor about the specific case.
  • Paralysis may make sex trickier, but not impossible.
Related diseases
Related professionals
Dra. Judith
Sanchez Raya
Head of Department
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Sra. Laura
Yague Velasco
Nursing Supervisor
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Sra. Pilar
Giron Espot
Nursing Supervisor
Strokes and Cerebral Haemodynamics
Sr. Alex
Ginés Puertas
Person in charge/Coordinator
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dra. Alba
Gómez Garrido
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dra. Maria Pilar
Lusilla Palacios
Dra. Susana
Rodriguez Gonzalez
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dra. Mar
Meléndez Plumed
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dr. Ramon
Arroyo Aljaro
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Sra. Olga
Miñarro Agüero
Strokes and Cerebral Haemodynamics
Dra. Estela
Sanjuan Menendez
Strokes and Cerebral Haemodynamics
Vascular Biology and Metabolism (VBM), Neurovascular Diseases
Sra. Ángela
Palacino Pleguezuelos
Nursing Assistant
Strokes and Cerebral Haemodynamics
Sr. Jaume
Garcia Perdomo
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation