Some people who have had a
stroke have problems seeing in some or all of the
normal areas of vision. For example, people with left-sided paralysis may have
difficulty seeing to the left. If the problem is due to a vision loss, most
people learn to make up for this loss by turning their heads. If the person
does not turn his or her head to the affected side, that side of the body may
be ignored or neglected.
Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring the affected
side, such as:
Mentioning or responding to stimulation only on
the unaffected side of the body.
Using only the unaffected arm or
Looking only to the environment on the unaffected
Noticing only someone who speaks or approaches from the
unaffected side of the body.
Responding to only half of the
objects he or she would normally see, such as eating from just one side of the
Not recognizing the affected arm and leg as belonging to his
or her body and thinking that they belong to someone else.
Thinking that objects on the affected side are closer or farther away than they really are. The person may bump into furniture or have trouble eating or dressing.
The following tips may be useful when caring for someone who neglects
his or her affected side:
When you are working with the person's affected
side, reduce distractions on the unaffected side. Distractions may include moving objects or bright lights close to the person. So, for example, make sure there are no moving objects or bright lights close to the person on his or her unaffected side.
that are needed most often on the person's unaffected side. Encourage use of
the affected side by placing some objects (such as the telephone, reading glasses, or a glass of water) on that side, prompting the person to
also use the affected side.
Remind the person to pay attention to the
affected side. Sometimes, attaching a small bell or bright ribbon to the
affected arm or leg may act as a reminder.
Point out landmarks on
the person's right and left sides when going places. Remember that the person
may look at only one side of the environment, so use examples that get the person to look to both sides. For example, you might say, "Looking out the window over to your right I see that it looks like a rainy day today." Or you might say, "We are driving by our church over here on the left."
Give frequent cues to help orient the
person to the environment. For example, you might say, "It is 3 o'clock in the afternoon on March 21. It is Wednesday, and we are at the doctor's office. I am your son, and we have been here only a short while."
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