This is the third in a series of articles describing the sub-acute care team. Let’s learn about the neurologist’s role in the sub-acute care team. Previously, we discussed the roles of the dietitian, the physical therapist and the physiatrist.
The National Stroke Association describes the role of the stroke neurologist as specializing in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of:
The neurologist may also be known as a ‘vascular neurologist’ or a ‘stroke doctor’. A person who either had a stroke, is having a stroke or is at risk of a stroke would be seen by the neurologist. A lot of the work of the vascular neurologist is in rehab, as part of the team to help a stroke survivor overcome their stroke-related challenges.
Qualifying to be a Vascular Neurologist
All neurologists train for many years and learn about managing strokes. A vascular neurologist needs to study an additional 4 years in order to qualify. Some vascular neurologists choose to work in stroke research. Others choose to work directly with patients.
Following stroke, the neurologist determines a diagnosis or offers information regarding:
- why a person had a stroke
- how badly a person was affected
- options for treatment
- rehabilitation choices
- prevention of future strokes
- decisions relating to surgery
What might a Neurologist do in a visit?
In order to see how the nervous system was affected the following tests might be expected:
- talking about the symptoms
- discussing any past medical conditions
- check walking
- a short medical check of heart, lungs and pulse
- checks for neurological disorders in our 5 senses
- checks to test muscles strength in different parts of the body
- eye checks
- if necessary order other tests such as MRI, EEG or CT
How often does a patient visit the Neurologist?
Each stroke survivor has different needs following discharge from the hospital. In order that a patient’s care should not fall apart, rehabilitation might be recommended for the patient. Nevertheless, some follow-up care in the hospital might be requested by the neurologist. Even if a patient has no lingering neurological issues, they will be requested to make an appointment to the internist a few weeks after the stroke.
After a patient leaves rehab, if the symptoms change, worsen or new symptoms develop, the patient should first make contact with their primary caregiver, says the ACP Internist. Another visit to the neurologist might be needed.
Summarising the Neurologist’s role in the Sub-Acute Care Team
In Summary, each member of the team plays an important part. Sometimes the roles may overlap. Certainly, there should be communication between the team members. However, essentially, each person fulfils a specialized role.
The neurologist’s role in the sub-acute care team is both, if a person is at risk of having a stroke, or, has had one. A vascular neurologist’s knowledge for hands-on care and through research to develop new treatments can help all patients.