Stroke survivor Darryn Williamson shared his story with health professionals from across the South Island at the annual Stroke Study Day in October.
Almost 170 stroke service providers, including general practitioners and practice nurses, listened as Darryn spoke about his experience through the health system and his journey to recovery.
Emphasising the importance of communication and truly listening to the patient, Darryn was a very active person before his stroke in May 2018. He was on 13 boards, including the Canterbury DHB Consumer Council. “It’s very frustrating not being able to do what you used to do – when you have a stroke, you lose a lot more than your dignity.”
Darryn’s journey has taken over a year to get back to independent living. He talked about his experience and took questions from the audience, encouraging understanding and learning from a patient’s perspective. He says clear communication with the patient and between health professionals is crucial. “It’s about finding out who your patient is first, by talking to them, not just reading what’s been written about them from a folder. Really listening to the patient is so important – setting rehab goals and involving them with everything – asking them, what do they need to get over this hurdle or reach this next step towards their recovery?”
The strong speaker line-up also included two researchers, one of which was Nicola Kayes, Director of Person Centred Research Associate Professor of Rehabilitation School of Clinical Sciences, Auckland University, whose research is about goal setting.
In her presentation, Nicola explained that SMART goals have minimal evidence supporting their use in rehabilitation. She presented an alternative goal-setting framework (MAP: Meaning, Anchor, Plan), making rehabilitation plans tailored to the person. It reinforced Darryn’s message of listening to the patient and asking what they want. This framework fits with any chronic condition/rehabilitation type goal.
Jointly hosted by the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand and the South Island Alliance Stroke Workstream, 170 people attended, with more than 100 joining by video conference. Held at the Rolleston Lecture Theatre at Christchurch Hospital, the event is focused on helping service providers enhance their day-to-day practice.
This year, the range of stroke-specific topics included dysphagia management, sexuality after stroke, and the implementation of telestroke in the South Island.Attendees also had a chance to ask questions about anything to do with stroke care, answered by Dr Suzanne Busch, Lead Stroke Physician, Nelson Marlborough DHB, and Dr Carl Hanger, geriatrician and stroke physician at Burwood Hospital.
Dr Hanger was one of the event organisers and says the day was a great success. “Our speakers were fantastic, and we really appreciated Darryn for his courage and honesty in sharing his experience both in and out of hospital following his stroke. It’s really beneficial for us as health professionals to hear a consumer’s perspective first-hand.”