Susan is 62 years old and lives in Scarborough with her partner and Purdy, a labradoodle she walks every day. Susan has worked in health services all her life and retired three years ago.

In December 2020, while sitting down to write Christmas cards, she suddenly began to experience the symptoms of a stroke.

Susan said: 'I tried to carry on writing but I couldn't, my speech had gone, and I couldn't think of the words I wanted to say.'

She was soon taken to A&E and then ambulanced to York for a CT scan. 'I was so overwhelmed being admitted to hospital,' Susan remembers. 'I can't be 100% sure of what was explained to me at the time.'

Shortly after leaving the hospital, Susan was contacted by Kate, a Stroke Association Connector.

'Kate couldn't have been lovelier,' Susan told us. 'She explained the reason for the call, reassured me that she would be there to listen to any concerns or worries about my stroke, and put me at ease immediately. It was nice to have a friendly voice at the end of the phone who knew about stroke and understood the challenges I was facing.'

Susan was grateful for the support that Kate provided during and after their call.

'Having someone to talk everything over with was a huge benefit. Kate talked through the different types of stroke and what support was available and helped me think about getting in touch with my GP as I had some questions about my medication. She then promptly sent over useful information, including signposting to other services and online groups.

"I wasn't aware of all these resources, and having worked in quality assurance for ten years, I recognised that this was exactly the kind of information you'd want as soon as you leave the hospital. Kate also said that if I needed any clarification or just wanted someone to talk to, I can always call.'

As Susan continues with her recovery, she has come to reflect on what this service has meant for her.

'Without Stroke Association Connect, a stroke could be extremely isolating. A listening ear helps you feel less alone when you're sent home. Kate made me feel like someone's interested in me and my experience.

"NHS teams are so busy, but by referring me to the Stroke Association, it's clear they still want the best for their patients when they've left the hospital. This service is invaluable; it ensures that stroke survivors like me and their family can still get that vital support.'

Find out more about how you can refer your patients to Stroke Association Connect. You can also download and print Susan's case study.