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New PACT supporting stroke patients

New PACT to support stroke patients

Supporting people who have communication problems after a stroke is the aim of a new group to be launched at Poole Hospital.

People with Aphasia Communicating Together (PACT) supports current inpatients and those who have been discharged from hospital who find returning home challenging because of communications issues.

Aphasia describes a condition in which people find it harder to understand, speak, read, write or type, and is usually caused by damage to the left hand side of the brain following a stroke or other brain injury.

Bill Lindsay had a stroke in 2011 and has been volunteering at Poole Hospital’s stroke unit for the past five years. Bill, who has aphasia, put forward the idea for a support group for people like him to therapists on the unit.

The group will not only support patients and former patients, but their families and carers too.

bill lindsay and deborah broadbent PACT launch“I didn’t know what aphasia was when I had my stroke, and it was very scary,” said Bill, pictured with Deborah Broadbent, specialist speech and language therapist in the hospital’s stroke services team, at the launch on Wednesday (10 October).

“It affects people in different ways, some people can speak a few words, others can’t talk at all.

“I’m fortunate that I have made good progress, and through the group we hope to be able to support even more people to improve their communication skills too.”

Deborah said Bill’s contribution to the service is ‘inspirational.’

“Bill has been inspirational to many of our patients and their families on the ward,” she said. “He continues to motivate and support people with his experience and advice.

“Bill has been keen to find a way to support people with aphasia on this part of their journey, and came up with the idea for PACT, which we think is a really unique idea.

“Its aim is to support patients with aphasia and their families and carers with the transition from hospital to home.”

Attendees at the launch, held on the rehabilitation unit, included current and recent patients, stroke service staff and volunteers.

Faye Wright, support co-ordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Bill have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating.

“But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate, and can rebuild their lives. PACT, which has been set up by Bill as a Stroke Association affiliated club within Poole Hospital, provides a place for stroke survivors to get information, advice and support.

“Bill has gone from strength to strength in his recovery and we couldn’t be more proud of everything he has achieved. We’re so thankful for Bill’s determination and passion to help other stroke survivors in the community.

“Stroke is life-changing, but we know that the opportunity to meet other people going through a similar experience can really make a difference to the lives of stroke survivors.

“It’s hugely important that stroke survivors feel supported in their local community and this new group can help them on their road to recovery.”

For more information on the group contact Deborah on 01202 442933.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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