Dad has recently had a SAH - what to expect? - Headway


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Dad has recently had a SAH - what to expect?

MrsCM profile image

My dad had a SAH around 4 weeks ago. He was in ICU for a week but is now on a Acute Stroke unit for rehab. I was just wondering how long he is likely to be there? He is currently still quite confused and has no short term memory at all. We had hoped this would improve as he has been on the ward for 3 weeks but he had some set backs (1st hydrocephiuls then vasodilation) so doesn't seem to be going forward. We have been warned that it is a slow progression to recovery but they (understandably) won't give us any rough estimates. How long did other people find it?

Also my mother had to sort their mortagage out this week and she got him to sign a form. She did this on her own and we are concerned about what she may have done. Are SAH effects covered under mental health acts?

Any advice would be greatly recieved!

9 Replies

life will change exponentially whatever the prognosis is depending on his mobility as for the mental health act i am sure it will be somewhere i had my sah in 2007 and when in acute rehad ward did with a neuro phycologist undergo extensive brain tests fortunatly for me proving i suffered no brain damage except for cognative thinking and as with all brain injuries short temper and easily tired bed every day by what i found the best was those nearest to me showing their love and faith in me every little bit of progress being greeted with nhowls of delight and the odd word saying how proud they were of me one feels like one has let everyoine down almost depressive aboyut it so keep up the acenutation of the positives greet backward steps with comments such as you are a fighter dontr let it beat you etc etc good luck it will be a very long road mine now 6 years neil

headwayuk profile image

Hi MrsCM

Sorry to hear about your father.

Talking through your questions with the team on the Headway helpline may help you.

You can contact the helpline by phoning 0808 800 2244 (free from landlines) or by emailing

Hi MrsCM. You'll probably get lots of replies to this're in the right place.

I had a SAH in Dec.2011 and I would say it was at least six months before I began to feel anywhere near 'normal'. Even now, 17 months on there are lingering issues, like memory and fatigue problems.

I was in HDU for around three weeks then in the rehab ward for a further five weeks and my progress was considered good. The recovery period is an 'unknown' until it happens and everyone repairs at their own rate but one month is nothing in terms of recovery from brain trauma.

It really is a very, very slow process so please don't be anxious about no obvious signs of improvement at such an early stage.

I'm don't believe that SAH is considered a mental health issue any more than any other illness, but I do sympathise with anyone trying to deal with the patient's finances. It was a nightmare for my family trying to get power of attorney to close down my bank account as I had been the victim of fraud (which I'm told was probably the trigger for my SAH).

Please be patient and try not to dwell on 'Why?'...... It really is just rotten luck.

Sincere best wishes for your dad's recovery. cat xx

cat3 profile image
cat3 in reply to cat3

Sorry, I meant to say there's only a mental health issue if there proves to be brain damage causing cognitive problems but this is less common than not.

However, I'm really not sure whether he should be signing anything at present.......maybe Headway would know. x

Hello - 4 weeks in is very early indeed. Some people are only in hospital for a few weeks, some for a lot longer, it all depends on the individual needs of the patient. My boyfriend was in a stroke unit then brain injury rehab for 8 months last year, and came on really well - and is still improving slowly at home. There were lots of people in his ward progressing more slowly too, but the important thing is that there was progression. It may not happen in every case, and it's so slow that you don't notice it day by day either.

It's horribly traumatic but don't give up hope, some things may improve, and there are strategies for coping with things that don't improve. Also a brain injury is not a mental health issue.

I hope things go well with your dad, keep us up to date


The previous answer from Paula is spot on.i had a massive stroke 15 months ago and things seemed to stay the same for ages but I can gradually do more. Like showering myself whereas last year I was horizontal in hospital bed! I can now go out to restaurants even without a wheelchair. You must all just be there for your dad and try to understand how devasted he must be. Fit and healthy one day, disabled the next. I think I cried every day for the first year , but I've heard some amazing recovery stories and I now have hope

I had a SAH and acquired hydrocephalus through it so you're Dad is battling two things, recovering from effects of a bleed and dealing with the effects of high pressure both of which are unpleasant. Has he had a shunt fitted or did they place an external drain. Once the hydro is managed it will let you see the woods for the trees as when I was high pressure or suffering the effects then I lose words and short term memory. I was in hospital over 7 weeks initially with a grade 4 bleed and hydro but every case is very unique. Try not to measure success in days but in small improvements. Keep a diary,it will help. Check out Behind the Grey forum for SAH specific stories and help, it's good.

Thank you all for your stories and advice! He took a turn for the worse yesterday and had a shunt fitted - the difference in him today was amazing! He's even been out of bed already and actually remembered doing it which we couldn't believe (we actually thought he was lying but the nurse said he had!) He's still muddled but it seems to be based in reality which is reassuring. It's reassuring to hear people have recovered however long it takes. Did you all ask what had happened to you or did you gradually find out? He has asked and we've told him bits but not in detail at the moment as we're concerned it will distress him but don't want to distress him!

Oh what wonderful news. :-) Thanks MrsCM for letting us know about this latest development.

I still have no memory of my time in the HD Unit. I went back to thank the staff when I was sufficiently recovered and it was like I'd seen them in a dream..........their faces looked vaguely familiar but I could remember nothing.

I was pestering everyone for details for many months afterwards, which was OK because it seemed they needed to keep going over everything themselves. I suppose we were all just trying to make sense....... of a nonsensical event.

Don't worry about his confusion, I think that's the norm for a while. Apparently, I was an embarrassment to my family for the first few weeks.......saying some pretty outrageous things and the nursing staff finding it hilarious. My family were actually quite worried that I'd had a personality change & I was horrified when I learned all this later.

Please keep us updated with your dad's progress.......It'll be a long process, but things are looking good.

Thanks again for the update. Best wishes to you both. cat xx :-)

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