Rick Hein is a My Stroke Guide veteran. As well as using it to further his communication recovery, the former IT Teacher used his 'techie background' to help us test and develop our online support tool.
Rick continues to visit My Stroke Guide regularly, welcoming new members and helping them to use the website. He talks us through his favourite features:
"My social' is a marvellous tool to help with communication. I use it to practise my written conversation and I've improved a lot by answering questions and supporting other users.
The community wall and forums give you a chance to 'pick the brains' of stroke survivors, carers, and health professionals who have experienced stroke first-hand. I'm always amazed by the ability of carers and survivors to overcome what seems like long odds to get back to the new normal.'
'I like the videos - they're short and answer specific questions. There are over 200 videos about stroke, prevention and improving your health. I recommend the 'Back to work' videos. And I think the 'Looking after yourself' and 'Exercise' videos are also crucial.
You can be at a low point after a stroke, so taking care of yourself is not always a priority. The videos help you think about how to get active and to start doing things for yourself again.'
Goals and journal
'I try to signpost to the goals and journal because goal-setting helped me a lot after my stroke. It's important to break down your goals into achievable little steps. When I woke up, I was mute. But I was grateful to be alive, and worked hard at recovering. I wrote in my journal that I wanted to speak in a full sentence, then to speak in two full sentences without stopping. I worked my way up like that and over time, my confidence improved greatly.'
Advice and information
'This is my 'go-to' section because you can find almost everything you want to know about stroke, stroke care and therapies. Having this easy-to-read information in one place can help you feel less isolated and uncertain, especially when you leave the hospital and the appointments for physio and speech move to once a week or less.
This section is also helpful to carers, as it explains the physical, practical and emotional sides of stroke. I recommend the 'Information for family and friends' section for those looking for more support.'
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the Spring 2020 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.