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Stroke - alertness test?
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Stroke - alertness test?

Is there any type of "Alertness Test" or technique you anyone is aware of that that can be used to determine if a recent Stroke victim is conscious/aware or his surroundings?  

Here is a little more background:  my father just had a massive Stroke and he cannot eat, swallow, or speak ... and is paralyzed on his upper right side of his body.   His left arm and both legs are just fine, though.   In fact, his left arm is still very strong and he lifts it up to scratch his nose, rub his face, etc.  There are times when his eyes are wide open and he seems to be aware of his surroundings, but we can't get him to really acknowledge that we are there.  

We squeeze his hand and ask him to squeeze back ... and he does.   Also, the nurses ask/order him to do things, and he occasionally seems to respond, but these examples could just be a reflex and not real awareness.   When we ask him directly to lift hos left arm if he knows we are there, we get no response at all.   We wonder if he may just be mad at us and the world and that is why he won't respond.

So to my question:  has any one heard of an "Alertness/Awareness Test" where we can ask specific questions in a specific way to see if he is aware we are there ... and given that he can move his left arm, that is one way he can communicate back.

Thanks in advance!   -Randy

Tags: alertness
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi,
One of the effects of stroke is -Problem using language (aphasia and dysarthria).
A person with aphasia may have trouble understanding speech or writing.
Or, the person may understand but may not be able to think of the words to speak or
write. A person with dysarthria  knows the right words but has trouble saying them clearly.Your father must be having the same problem .  Unfortunately there are no specific alertness tests to check the awareness of the patient .
. Physical therapy and other retraining methods are greatly improving rehabilitation and recovery.  After a stroke, some spontaneous recovery takes place for most people. Abilities that may have been lost will begin to return. This process can take place very quickly over the first few weeks, and then, it may begin to taper off.
REHABILITATION- This phase usually takes place while the patient is still in the hospital. Various therapists and specialists will work with the stroke victim to bring back lost skills. Some of the different types of medical professionals who participate in the care of stroke patients during the rehabilitation process include: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians (Physiatrists) ,Physical Therapists ,Speech Therapists and Occupational Therapists .
This can be a very frustrating time for the patient as they become aware of their limitations from the stroke. Oftentimes, this is the period where anger or depression can set in. It's good to remember that with proper therapy, many or most skills can be relearned.  There will be many experts to ease this transition. Please start the rehabilitation program for your father and he will improve fast . Wish you all the best . Take care and regards !

2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks so much.   It sounds like the real question is whether my father has aphasia or dysarthria.   If he has aphasia, then that explains why he can't lift his left arm when we ask him to.  It's because he doesn't understand what we say.   If he has dysarthia, then he should be able to understand us ... and although he can't verbally reply, he should be able to lift is left arm in response to our request.

Did I get this right?   And, is there any set of verbal questions or commands that you are aware of that are used by specialists in this area to distinguish between aphasia and dysarthria ... especially with patients that have enough movement in their bdy that they can communicate through motion instead of speech?

Thanks again in advance ... your help on this forum is really wonderful.    -Randy

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