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Awakening the Lethargic Patient
Stroke survivors in the acute care hospital may have difficulty waking up for each therapy session.
|Factors contributing to lethargy may include: acute medical conditions, medications or even the lack of sleep caused by multiple disruptions.
Determine any necessary precautions, then try the following if your patient is difficult to arouse.
|Raise the height of the bed and get your patient in a more upright position to help increase their level of alertness. While raising the bed speak to your patient and call them by name.|
|If there are no cardiac, sternal or other medical precautions, gently rub your patient’s sternum with a closed fist. This may be enough to help them wake up.|
|If your patient continues to be lethargic, apply a cool washcloth to their face. Place a washcloth in your patient’s hand and guide the hand to the face. Your patient may begin to take over the movement, becoming more alert.|
For more practical tips on managing the stroke survivor in the acute care setting refer to: Treatment Strategies in the Acute Care of Stroke Survivors.