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pl. paralyses [Gr. paralyein, to disable]

1. Loss of sensation; anesthesia.
2. Loss of purposeful movement, usually as a result of neurological disease (such as strokes, spinal cord injuries, poliomyelitis), drugs, or toxins. Loss of motor function may be complete (paralysis) or partial (paresis), unilateral (hemiplegic) or bilateral (diplegic), confined to the lower extremities (paraplegic) or present in all four extremities (quadraplegic), accompanied by increased muscular tension and hyperactive reflexes (spastic) or by loss of reflexes and tone (flaccid).
SYN: SEE: palsy

Rehabilitation therapists evaluate the patient's motor and sensory capabilities (muscle size, tone and strength, reflex or involuntary movement, response to touch or to painful stimuli). The patient must be positioned to prevent deformities. Passive range of motion is performed on the involved extremities to prevent contractures. The patient is repositioned frequently to prevent pressure sores. Local and systemic responses, including fatigue, are evaluated. The rehabilitation team assesses and attends to any self-care deficits the patient may have. Support is offered to the patient and family to help them deal with psychological concerns and the response to grief and loss. Assistance is provided to help the patient in achieving an optimal level of function and in adapting to the disability.

Important concerns include functional positioning, the prevention of deformities secondary to spasticity, and the prevention of injury when sensation is absent. A plan may be prescribed for muscle reeducation and compensatory training. Functional orthoses and assistive technology devices may be necessary to assist the patient in performing self-care and other tasks of daily living.

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