New technologies are changing the world of stroke prevention, treatment and recovery. Wearables can now measure almost every physical function and alert us when we might be at increased risk of stroke. Miniature (endovascular) devices can be inserted into our veins to safely remove blood clots from our brain and improve our prospects of recovery. Virtual reality programs have gamified physical rehab to encourage us to push our limits after stroke. The outlook in the United States has perhaps never been better. “But,” says World Stroke Organization (WSO) president and world-leading neurologist Professor Werner Hacke of Heidelberg, Germany, “ask any stroke survivor or family members what their most important stroke recovery tools are, and their answers are likely to be a lot more human than they are high-tech.”
Through comprehensive consultations, workshops and surveys, the WSO, an organization representing over 55,000 stroke experts worldwide, has gathered a global picture of what matters most to when it comes to rebuilding your life after stroke. Three words come up again and again: Hope. Connection. Motivation.
The Global Stroke Bill of Rights, a document developed by WSO members around the world, sets out what stroke survivors and caregivers might mean when they use these three powerful words:
To be provided with hope for the best possible recovery I can make, now and into the future.
2. Emotional support
To receive psychological and emotional support in a form that best meets my needs.
To be included in all aspects of society regardless of any disability I may have.
4. Long-term care
To receive support (financial or otherwise) to ensure that I am cared for in the longer-term.
5. Smooth transitions
To be supported to return to work and other activities.
To get access to informal and formal advocacy to help me access the services I need.
To be connected to other stroke survivors and caregivers so I may gain and provide support in my recovery from stroke.
From Stroke Awareness Month in May through to World Stroke Day on October 29, WSO will be calling for policy-makers and community service providers to focus on these long-term needs of survivors and families. “Given the pace of technological development,” says Professor Hacke, “the campaign will of course also look at the role that technology can play in stroke recovery. But the heart of our campaign this year will be the power of three little words to help people have the best possible life after stroke.”