Stroke

If you know someone who has had a stroke, you’ll perhaps be motivated to try to make sure you don’t have one yourself, so it’s important to follow a healthy lifestyle: reducing weight, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol, taking more exercise, etc, so using websites like the NHS: LiveWell site will be useful.

The Stroke association has information about stroke and about support available to help patients and their families following a stroke.

Flo can help by sending messages reminding patients about making lifestyle changes; Flo can also remind patients to take their medication, which may help in the post- stroke recovery period, when memory loss and depression can cause patients’ lives to become more disorganised. If your blood pressure needs to be monitored, you can send readings in to the surgery by text message, or you can receive messages about losing weight, and send in weekly weight measurements.

The Amazon Alexa or Google Home can be programmed to remind you to take medication, and some versions allow video conversations with other people.

Closed Facebook groups have been set up in some GP surgeries, and how these work will depend on each local clinician. The closed groups all have the same principles, in that only people who are invited can join, and a reliable person (usually a clinician) oversees the site, and intervenes if incorrect advice is given. These groups may ask for your weight on a weekly basis, or may just be a forum where people exchange tips, suggest recipes, or provide encouragement to each other. Have a look at the video below of how Facebook has been used for patients with atrial fibrillation.

For some patients, Skype appointments may be a way for you to talk to your doctor or nurse without the need to leave your house. Sometimes, your doctor may need to examine you, so a Skype appointment may not be suitable, but often talking through your concerns is all that is required, and a Skype appointment lets your doctor or nurse see you, so it is better than a phone call. Have a look at the video of a specialist diabetes nurse below who is having a follow-up appointment with a patient.

Apps can be helpful both to patients and carers. See the ‘Useful apps for managing stroke’ section below for some of our suggestions.