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Patient Voices: Reconnecting with life: stories of life after stroke


Reconnecting with life: stories of life after stroke

These stories are about the experience of living with stroke and aphasia and how people move forward with life after stroke. We hope they will inspire service providers to respond creatively to the challenge of improving services, opportunities and lives. The stories are a collaborative project between Connect, the National Audit Office and Pilgrim Projects, created in support of Reducing Brain Damage: faster access to better stroke care, the National Audit Office report on stroke care.

After a stroke in her early 20s, Debbie is left with aphasia – and only recognises one word. 20 years later, she runs conversation groups and has gained immeasurably in confidence.

The first time
Sonia’s stroke left her feeling imprisoned, unable to venture from her house because she could not communicate. Her first bus journey proved to be the turning point, and she realises that she can do anything she puts her mind to, with the help of a few thoughtful strategies.

Helping others helps me
Ken decides to put his background in training to good effect after his stroke: he now trains professionals working with people who have aphasia.

A brighter world waiting
Following her stroke, Rizia takes up meditation, then gardening, and discovers a brighter future beyond stroke.

New beginnings
Emmanuel worked as an engineer in the Nigerian Dept of Trade and Industry before his stroke left him with aphasia. However, his love of gardening leads him to transform an unused piece of ground into a garden that is a haven of peace in the centre of London.

Hold on to your hat!
For two years following his stroke, Alan didn’t know that he had aphasia. After that, he is determined to recover as much of his life as possible, and works with a variety of organisations to help others suffering from aphasia, ending up at Connect.

All the colours of the rainbow
Jane is a civil service lawyer before her stroke leaves her with aphasia. Her love of music comes into its own as she now leads music appreciation groups in which the music is as varied and as vibrant as the colours of the rainbow.

One size doesn’t fit all
People with aphasia benefit from individual speech therapy, which isn’t always easy to come by.

A stroke leaves Derek’s intelligent, vivacious, active wife unable to feed or look after herself, unable to communicate or even acknowledge Derek. He imagines a world where such a thing would not happen…

Fast, appropriate responses
Frustration at the lack of action and the indifference of some staff in an NHS hospital leads a young stroke victim to request his own discharge after two days so that he can pursue a private MRI scan and treatment via his GP.

A vision of the future
The timely, appropriate treatment received by one stroke patient exemplifies the better future envisaged in the story ‘Imagine’.

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