Think Ahead Pioneers Self Care for Stroke Survivors and their Carers

North West charity launches programme to shape UK Stroke care with health and social care organisations

L-R: Chairman Mike Aspinall, Exec. Manager Carol Sankey, Sir Ian McCartney and Terry Harpur

Think Ahead Community Stroke Group is to launch ‘Self Care for Stroke’, a unique and pioneering initiative to help both Stroke Survivors and their Carers to be able to re-build their lives and gain confidence and independence, at an event on Wednesday 16th October in Wigan.

It is believed the programme is the first of its kind in the UK, consisting of six weekly sessions endorsed by the UK Stroke Forum Education and Training that will provide practical and emotional support, advice and information for those affected by Stroke.

The Self Care for Stroke programme brings together a combination of health and social care organisations to respond to the needs identified by Think Ahead’s members, and will provide a clear pathway from hospital to long term care for Survivors and Carers.

Think Ahead’s Chairman Mike Aspinall said: “We’re proud to be founding, what we believe to be, the first programme of its kind in the UK. The success of the programme will become a blue print for Stroke care across the nation.

“The aim of Think Ahead’s Programme is to inspire and prepare people to make life choices and changes following Stroke."

Mike adds: “By listening and responding to the needs of Stroke Survivors and their Carers, the Self Care for Stroke Programme aims to enrich lives and reduce the feelings of isolation and lack of confidence that can affect those affected by Stroke and promote a positive attitude by looking forward, planning and striving to achieve agreed goals.”

The organisations involved include Bridgewater Community Healthcare Trust, Speakeasy, Wigan Council, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Wigan and Leigh Housing, Wigan Leisure Trust (Active Living Team) and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

Sir Ian McCartney, Chair of Healthwatch WiganSir Ian McCartney, Chair of Healthwatch Wigan, will present a keynote speech advocating the importance of initiatives such as the ‘Self Care for Stroke’ Programme at the event on Wednesday.

“Living with the after-effects of Stroke can be difficult, and with approximately 1,000 people in the Wigan Borough hit by Stroke every year, health professionals and organisations need to ensure that everything is being done to give Survivors and their Carers the best care and support”, said Sir Ian McCartney.

“The Self Care for Stroke programme represents a new way to deliver a joined up approach to care, and I am very much looking forward to working with Think Ahead as they deliver this new approach.”

The Self Care for Stroke weekly 2 hour sessions are delivered by trained members of local health and social care organisations and charity organisations with support from Think Ahead’s Buddies and Stroke Supporters and will cover topics including:

•    Living with Stroke
•    Memory and understanding
•    What support is available to Stroke Survivors and their Carers
•    Confidence and independence building
•    Lifestyle/healthy living and self careTerry Harpur, volunteer 'Stroke Buddy' for Think Ahead

“The effects of Stroke extend far beyond the initial recovery, and can often completely turn lives around”, said Terry Harpur, a volunteer with Think Ahead whose wife was profoundly affected by Stroke. 

“There are many aspects to after care that can be difficult to access, and that’s why it is so important for organisations such as Think Ahead to be creating a programme where all the information is in one place as it is here at the Stroke Information Centre.”

Terry adds, “I’m very grateful to Think Ahead for their help, and proud to be helping a charity that is innovating new ways to aid Stroke Survivors, Carers and their loved ones to lead better lives.”

For more information contact Think Ahead on 01942 824 888 or email info@think-ahead.org.uk, or please click here for the website.