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Coping with Right Brain Issues after Stroke

Right Brain Issues

Learning to identify and control impulsive behavior will help you regain a normal lifestyle.

How is a stroke on the right side of your brain affecting your behavior?

The brain has two sides: right and left. Each side of the brain is responsible for different body functions. The right side of your brain controls your thinking skills and the left side of your body.

When you have a stroke that has caused damage to the right side of your brain, you may have difficulty with some thinking skills that used to be easy for you. These changes can be disturbing to you and your caregiver.

What are some changes you may experience?

Here is a list of some of the changes you may have that your family and caregivers may notice. However, you may not see these changes as a problem.

  • Impulsive behavior: for example, you may have difficulty waiting for help or taking action before thinking of the consequences.
  • Left side neglect: you no longer notice things on the left side of the body, for example you do not eat food on the left side of the plate, and you have difficulty reading words on the left side of the page.
  • Memory loss: for example, you are forgetful about recent events.
  • Organizational skills: you have poor planning skills, for example, planning meals, organizing household tasks, and planning family travel.
  • Problem solving: you have difficulty arriving at a solution for day-to-day problems, such as how to prioritize tasks that need to be accomplished. 

What are some suggestions to help you control your behavior?

If you are able, read as much as you can about the kind of stroke you had, and ask your health care provider for more information about right brain injury. If you have problems reading, ask a loved one or caregiver to read this information to you.

  • Pay attention to what your family is telling you about your behavior so you can avoid putting yourself in danger.
  • Remember to look on your left side when doing tasks.
  • Try to improve and to control your behavior by thinking things through before jumping into action.
  • Think about what you are going to say before you say it.

Hints for Time Management to help with your behavior:

  • After a stroke, getting started and accomplishing certain tasks will take longer so manage your time by taking into account that some things will take more time.
  • To manage your time more effectively develop a simple “to-do” list and work through it each day.
  • Establish a daily routine to help you become more organized again and be able to manage your time.
  • Make it a daily goal to complete a task on your list.
  • In addition to your daily plan, make a weekly plan and set goals for the long term.

Think About Safety to help manage your behavior:


Think about safety often when you move about at home and when you go out so you can avoid unsafe activities that put you at risk for losing your balance and falling. Be on the lookout for safety risks around your home environment, and make changes when possible. For example, have an additional handrail installed on frequently used staircases, and have furniture moved that blocks the pathway around the house or to the bathroom.


Additional Resources

For more information about right hemisphere brain damage click on:

To find out more information about brain function click on:


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2009). Right hemisphere brain damage. Retrieved from,

American Stroke Association. (2007). Let's talk about changes caused by stroke. Retrieved from,

Hoeman, S.P. (2008). Rehabilitation nursing prevention, interventions, & outcomes (4th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby Elsevier.

Jacelon, C. (2011). The specialty practice of rehabilitation nursing. Glenview, IL: Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.

Landsberger, J. (2009). Study guide and strategies. Retrieved from,

Revolutionhealth. (2008). Stroke and the brain. Retrieved from,

Written in 2009 by Julie Jessop, MSN, RN at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web©.

Revised 2012.  
Last Updated: 4/20/16