Stroke: Perception Changes

Overview

When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have more trouble learning to care for themselves.

Signs of perception problems are often noticed by the caregiver of a person who has had a stroke. These signs may include:

  • Not noticing people or things on the affected side and turning their head or eyes to the unaffected side. The person may not be able to steer a wheelchair through a large doorway without bumping the door frame.
  • Not being aware of body parts on the affected side.
  • Having trouble recalling how to form numbers and letters, or confusing similar numbers. The person may not be able to add numbers.
  • Having trouble recalling the written spelling of words. The person may not be able to read.
  • Confusing the inside and outside of clothing or the right and left sides of clothing.
  • Having a hard time knowing when they're sitting or standing.

Helping someone who has perception changes

If a person has perception problems after a stroke, the stroke rehab team can teach you how to help. Here are some examples.

  • Help prevent a fall.
    • Cut down on clutter.
    • Make sure that rooms are well lit.
    • Install night lights in the bedroom and bathroom.
  • Avoid rapid movements around the person.

    Other people moving around in the room also may be distracting.

  • Mark lines on door frames or full-length mirrors.

    This can help the person see what is vertical.

  • Do not overestimate the person's abilities.

    Watch to see what can be done safely rather than taking the person's word for it.

  • Help the person do a task.
    • Tell the person how to do things if they have trouble remembering how to do a task.
    • Put your hands in your pockets to keep yourself from gesturing as you talk the person through the steps.
    • It may also be good to have the person talk through the task.
    • Give lots of praise.
  • Break tasks into small steps.
    • Encourage the person to slow down and check each step carefully.
    • Don't nag. Nagging may cause the person to become angry and upset.
  • Arrange transportation.

    People with perception problems-—even minor ones—should not drive a car.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: March 28, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.