Stroke still strikes every five minutes in the UK. Our stroke researchers are finding ways to continue their work to help people affected by stroke rebuild their lives.
Meet Dr Lucy Dipper, a Stroke Association-funded researcher.
Lucy, along with joint lead Dr Madeline Cruice and the 'LUNA' project team, is developing and testing a new treatment that can help stroke survivors recover their ability to have everyday conversations. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, stroke survivors and speech and language therapists taking part in the study can no longer meet face-to-face to test the new treatment.
They had to make changes fast.
“We couldn’t carry on for obvious reasons. But we couldn't just stop. The stroke survivors taking part in this research have a communication difficulty. They may be at risk of not receiving enough treatment and they may be particularly vulnerable to isolation at this time.
“Stroke survivors have been fully involved in the project from the start and they were key in deciding the way forward. We asked them about our plans to move testing of the treatment online. They told us what's important to them, like still having a good relationship with the therapists, and having a chance to practice speech and language activities repeatedly as part of their everyday life. These are all things we’ll continue to focus on.
“We're thinking of the move online as a positive change as we’re able to test our new treatment with more stroke survivors. We're thinking it might make our new treatment even richer. The treatment looks to improve every day talking through personal stories. If people are in their own homes, will they feel more comfortable sharing their stories? Could they use family photos and familiar objects to help create their stories?
“We’re extremely passionate about this project and that's why we leapt so quickly to make changes. The whole team just want it to continue. We’re putting our all into it, heart and soul.”
Jan, a stroke survivor with aphasia on the research advisory group, said: “I'm involved because I like talking and conversation with people and this is a way of staying active and keeping my mind and my language fresh.
"Moving LUNA online is the future. There's no travelling involved and having to get about. And it's secure. Therapists, therapy assistants and people with aphasia can all connect to share their stories.”
Watch this video to see the research team at work
We want to continue to support cutting-edge research that can make a real difference to people affected by stroke, but our income is falling due to the coronavirus crisis.
Please make a donation if you can, so that we can give stroke researchers – and our NHS – the support they desperately need to continue to rebuild lives after stroke.