Stroke Recovery Association of BC


Archive for March, 2015

Brain Attack – The Journey Back

A Unique Collection of Writing about Stroke Recovery  

Brain Attack - The journey back

A Stroke is a brain attack. This anthology is a unique collection of 33 original entries written by survivors and heroes about their recovery journeys from Stroke. This unique collection includes creative writing works from a wide range of individuals who have experienced a Stroke. Several family members have also contributed work.

This publication is edited by Liz Pearl, an independent educator and therapist. The contributing authors share their experiences, thoughts and feelings invoking in the readers, tears, laughs, comfort and support. They express their inner strength and insights about recovery and healing. Among the contributing authors are Kate Adamson, Cleo Hutton, Janel Nadeau, Helen McIntosh and Anne & Ross Pearson. For information and orders please visit:

brain attack - the journey back - liz

We interviewed Liz for this edition of Life After Stroke to learn more about her work.

Liz Pearl, M.Ed., is an educator and therapist specializing in psychogeriatrics and expressive arts therapy. She is a member OACCPP – an Association of Mental Health Professionals. Liz received her Master of Education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education – University of Toronto. She is the co-editor of Mourning Has Broken – A Collection of Creative Writing about Grief and Healing (KOPE Associates, 2004, 2007) and the editor of Brain Attack – The Journey Back – A Unique Collection of Creative Writing about Stroke Recovery (KOPE Associates, 2005)  and My Story – A Collection of Inspirational Voices about Living with Multiple Sclerosis (PK Press, 2012). Liz launched the Living Legacies series in 2007 now including, Living Legacies – A Collection of Writing by Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women (PK Press, 2007), the revised second edition, commemorating Israel at 60 years (PK Press, 2008), Volume II (PK Press, 2010), Volume III (PK Press, 2011), and Volume IV (PK Press, 2014). Liz lives in Toronto with her family. Her immediate goals include streamlining her social networking nonsense and adjusting to the looming empty-nest stage.

Q: How did the idea for Brain Attack – The Journey Back come about.

I am an therapist and educator specializing in psychogeriatrics and expressive arts.  Over the years I have worked with many adults who are stroke survivors and was often inspired by their stories. The collection serves several purposes. Firstly, to provide stroke survivors a meaningful expressive opportunity to tell their story including challenges, , lessons and blessings. Telling, writing and sharing a personal narrative has tremendous healing and therapeutic value. Secondly, the collection provides a wonderful resource to others in the stroke community including but not limited to, stroke survivors, family members, caregivers and affiliated professionals. Wisdom and support are always best when they are shared.

Q: How did you solicit contributions for the book and what was it like having to choose which ones were included?

The collection process was easy because I have many connections in the stroke support community and of course the network provided by the internet is immense. And of course many stroke survivors were excited about the possibility of being published and helping others.  Generally, I try not to turn willing participant away; if I was not able to include their story in this collection I helped them find another venue or media for their narrative. My goal in selecting stories is to strike a balance between personal meaning  and universal application. In other words something about each story is unique yet also contributes to the underlying inspirational theme.

Q: Would you agree that for many stroke survivors their life is better in some ways after the stroke?

That’s a tough question but I would have to say yes. Certainly I would like to believe so. Many stroke survivors are able to focus on the silver lining and tell tales about triumph over tragedy or harnessing the pain. Then again, as a facilitator I seek out those transformative themes.

Q: What is your favourite story in the book and why?

That is a question any therapist or editor will never answer because the true value is in the diversity and universality of the collection! Personally and professionally, I strongly believe in the value of telling our stories, and sharing wisdom. My motto and the tagline for PK Press is: Everyone Has a Story – What’s Yours? Share Your Story – Leave a Legacy.

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The SRABC 2014-15 Phyllis Delaney Life After Stroke Awards

Stroke Recovery Association of BC (SRABC) was founded in 1976. Phyllis Delaney was entrusted with organizing a provincial association by absorbing stroke recovery groups that had been operating in British Columbia since 1969.  She was our first Provincial Coordinator and went on to work tirelessly on behalf for stroke survivors in BC.  The Phyllis Delaney Life After Stroke Awards are given to people whose courage, determination and achievement deserves public recognition, as a testament to Phyllis’s achievements.

In this month’s issue we feature an interview with Award for Achievement in the Arts or Sport winner, Glenys Doddington of SRABC’s Kamloops Branch Kamloops Branch. Glenys was told she’d never walk again … and then proceeded to tap dance her way to recovery!

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Also featured is Caregiver Award Winner Jerica Young-Greene of SRABC’s Vanderhoof Branch. It’s natural for a mother to care for her daughter. But when Mary Greene 35, of Vanderhoof had a stroke last year, the roles unexpectedly reversed.

“I try to make her laugh so she has a good time,” said Jerica Young-Greene 12, Mary’s daughter. “She has trouble remembering and finishing sentences sometimes but I like to cook and besides, if this didn’t happen we wouldn’t have met everyone in stroke group.”

Recognized for her phenomenal undertaking of providing care to her mother, Jerica has been recognized as the 2014-15 Caregiver of the Year through the Phyllis Delaney Life After Stroke Awards.

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Award for Achievement in the Arts or Sport

Interview with Glenys Doddington – SRABC Kamloops Branch

Q: How long ago did you have your stroke?

I had my stroke in July 1998 over 16 years ago.

Q: What was your first thought when you were told you had suffered a stroke?

That is was unbelievable, never having smoked or used drugs or alcohol at ALL. I led an extremely active life, having competed at an international sports level and was definitely not overweight. I danced 2 or 3 times a week and took my dog out regularly 7 days a week. I had a good appetite, had seldom been sick, and I led a full and active life in my community. There was no history of stroke in my family. I was the first! This could not have happened to ME.

Q: What main challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Just coping with everyday household activities, it was as if someone had drawn a line down the middle of my body, nothing on the left side worked. Facial muscles, tongue, my mouth, arms, legs and toes would not respond to any stimuli. I needed a wheelchair to get around. My speech was badly impaired but after 6-8 weeks very gradually it became clearer, as my tongue seemed to release itself.

Every day I would religiously practice, shutting myself away in a room where no one (I thought) could hear the terrible sounds I was making. Eventually I could move food around in my mouth with my tongue, and as my vocal chords started to respond to my thoughts or directions, speech began to evolve better. It took a long time – but I tried to see the funny side of things and this helped a lot.

Q: Please tell us about your tap dancing activities and how they helped your recovery.

Tap-dancing was in my opinion the activity that most helped me with my recovery along with the great support I received from my fellow stroke survivors in the Kamloops Stroke Recovery Branch, and of course, my family. My husband practised ‘tough love’, by not rushing to my side every time I dropped something, which was often, or when I became frustrated because I could not complete a task. He’d just say, “Have another go at it, girl, you can do it” I would glare at him and quietly let go a swear word. I was not easy to live with during those early days of my recovery.

My doctor at that time didn’t seem to be very sympathetic to my situation. On my last visit to him I was complaining that although I was persevering with my physiotherapy I did not seem to be making the headway that I wanted to see. I was still in a wheelchair, I could stand for short intervals but was unable to use my toes, and my ankles seemed to be rigid.

After listening to my complaints gazing fixedly out of the window, he turned to me and said “You know Mrs D. you have been very lucky, you have lived a very full and active life, you have done things that very few women will have the opportunity to experience. You will most likely never regain your full mobility in your lower limbs. Therefore I recommend you take up some new hobbies like knitting or crochet and settle down to a quieter lifestyle!”

I could not believe what I was hearing. Here was this negative-thinking man telling me to settle down to accept passively what had happened to me and DO SOME KNITTING!

I was so choked up. I glared at him with all the venom I could muster, I stormed out of the office in my chair & slammed the door as hard as I could. Outside I broke down and cried. Later I remembered that I went back to his door and shouted as loud as I could “Doctor, you just watch me…” and that was just the beginning….

Some days later my husband too me to the Senior’s centre in Kamloops where they were having a Strawberry Tea and entertainment. I was delighted to see a 70 year old lady wearing a very short skirt and doing a tap dance routine to music. I have always been crazy about dancing ballroom, country dancing, ballet, even belly dancing. I loved it all, and I had been good at it. I enquired if the entertainer would consider giving me tap lessons, I figured that it would be excellent physiotherapy and something I would really enjoy doing. Her name was Joyce… she gazed at my wheelchair and then at me, lifted one eyebrow and said “Hell, why not? If you’ve got the guts I’ve got the time.” Apparently she had been thinking of starting a class for seniors at the centre for some time. So she said she would arrange something and get in touch with me.

Three weeks later I attended, in my wheelchair, my first Tap lesson complete with new shoes (Tap of course) a short skirt, along with four other gals, who like me were a little-over-the hill, but who had all their limbs intact and working. I was placed in line with them and then we started. This teacher never treated me any different to the other girls. She never lost her patience, but encouraged, encouraged, encouraged me. I would do the routines listening to the beat of the music (at least in my head I was doing them) but in actuality my feet were not moving at all.

Every day I practised, in my chair on my tiled floor kitchen. My neighbours must have loved me! I would turn the music up full blast. I would shout out Tap One, tap Two, Point Toe, Stop, over and over again just willing those feet to move. Using all my energy I would push them and in my mind see them lift and drop on their own. I was determined to show that doctor that I would dance again. Yes I would show him!!

I had my bad days … days when I would go home from the lessons and just break down for all the hard work that seemed to be going no-where. I cried and wept tear of anger and frustration, I prayed for strength to keep going. Then I got mad, mad to think that a doctor had decided that I was not able to get the use of my legs and feet back again. What right had he to decide that for me? I would show him. Oh boy, would I show him!

Then one day, it happened at first, just a pricking sensation around my toes, I looked down and saw my big toe raise itself off the floor. Such a minute, fragile, movement. So slight, but a movement. I gave a huge shout and burst into tears. This time tears of joy. That was a landmark moment for me. From then on I really put my heart and soul into my tap practice.

I started walking and dancing at first with a walker and then with a canes. Finally I was able to stand by myself and I joined the chorus line, just like them! What an experience. I was on stage!!

Q: If there was a message you could send others who are recovering from a stroke, what would you say to them?

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate being given this second chance at life. I am now committed to tell my story to those who have had this terrible thing happen to them, to let them know there is help out there along with companionship, support and lot s of encouragement. I have been told that I am a stubborn person. I was determined to show that the doctor was wrong in his assessment of me. It was that same stubbornness that gave me the backbone not to quit.

It took a long time and I am still working at it. I am 83 years old now, but I have walked the route of the Vancouver Sun Fun Run, to the finish, along with Boogie the Bridge held in Kamloops … always encouraged by my family and my fellow stroke group members who have always been there for me, helping me to achieve my goals.

Q: Are there any ways in which your life is better now?

Yes! This Stroke has made me realize just how precious life is and of the responsibility we all have to keep our bodies and our minds as healthy as we possibly can.

Attending the Stroke Recovery Meeting in Kamloops on Thursdays has become the highlight of my week. There I meet people who struggle every day to overcome their difficulties. We go bowling, exercise together, and play various games that help us communicate with one another, enabling them to regain their social life.

We get involved in activities that will teach them new living skills and support them as they try to overcoming the hurdles they have experienced due to the effects of the Stroke.

OUR MANTRA for the Group:


Say it.

Dream it.

Repeat it.



Caregiver of the Year Award

Feature on Jerica Young-Greene – SRABC Vanderhoof Branch

It’s natural for a mother to care for her daughter. But when Mary Greene 35, of Vanderhoof had a stroke last year, the roles unexpectedly reversed.

“I try to make her laugh so she has a good time,” said Jerica Young-Greene 12, Mary’s daughter. “She has trouble remembering and finishing sentences sometimes but I like to cook and besides, if this didn’t happen we wouldn’t have met everyone in stroke group.”

Recognized for her phenomenal undertaking of providing care to her mother, Jerica has been recognized as the 2014-15 Caregiver of the Year through the Phyllis Delaney Life After Stroke Awards. She was nominated by the Vanderhoof Stroke Recovery Group after putting her fears aside and helping her mom in any way she could, said Penny Swales, coordinator for the Vanderhoof Stroke Recovery Branch.

“From just a youngster she was able to get over the terrible shock in knowing her mother may be replaced by somebody else. She has helped her mom regain all kinds of abilities and Mary has now come on in leaps and bounds,” said Ms. Swales. “She is a bright and quite humorous young lady and we were delighted to hear she was chosen for this year’s award.”

In April 2013, Jerica found her mom collapsed on the floor not knowing what had happened. To this day, doctors don’t either. All that’s certain is it was Jerica’s 11th birthday and a day she will never forget.

“Mom said she was gonna sit down because she was feeling dizzy. She sat in the chair and since it was my birthday I went to check if guests were arriving. When I came back she was lying on the ground. I ask if she was ok and she looked at me so I went to check on guests again. I didn’t think anything of it, I was just excited. The next thing I knew everyone’s around her and I’m not able to see her,” said Jerica.

At first Mary could not walk or talk. The months following were spend in the hospital relearning basic motor sensory skills. She had even forgotten she smoked cigarettes.

Although Jerica was in school at the time, she visited her mother every chance she got to help her with mobility and memory. She now continues to help her mom remember things, prepare meals and just help around the house said Ms. Swales.

“When someone has a stroke their recollection changes along with the way they see things. It takes time but they do relearn. We don’t normally have to think about doing things but Mary may have to think about it every step of the way,” said Ms. Swales.

In the last four months Mary has managed to get her driver’s license back showing improvement in all aspects of life. She attends Stroke Group once a week and is thankful she is not in a wheelchair like some others. Life is still a daily struggle but some days are better than others, said Mary.

“Things that people do every day and take for granted I’m constantly remembering, like when to swallow,” said Mary. Thinking is normal but when it goes to come out it’s different on the outside, it’s frustrating. I used to love to cook but now remembering is difficult. When I came back from the hospital Jerica and I would go for walks and she still cooks and help me when she can. I have a hard time articulating this but I am extremely proud of my daughter. It’s amazing what she has done for me.”

Original article by Rebecca Watson- Omineca Express

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7 Steps to Stroke Recovery Video – the Audience Continues to Grow!

Our 7 Steps to Stroke Recovery video, which was posted on YouTube 7 months ago, has now reached over 22,000 views. You can see it here:
We are planning to make more-each devoted to one of the ‘7 Steps’. The first is Exercise and Mobility which is in the pre-production stages now.
Your financial support of the project would be greatly appreciated. If you want to donate please see our donation page.

7 steps to stroke recovery video


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Aphasia Today, Independence Tomorrow

It was September of 2013, and Jennifer and Ed Swaren were busy prepping their yard and pool for winter. Suddenly Jennifer stumbled, fell, and broke her hip. She was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where she was operated on a few days later. Because she was slow to recover after the surgery, the medical staff assumed she was having a reaction to the anesthesia.

When Ed saw her, he suspected something worse. “She was very disoriented, and couldn’t say hi to me,” he says. “I knew instantly it was more than a reaction.” Jennifer had suffered a stroke.

Her prognosis was good. The stroke had affected only a small area of the brain, leaving her with full mobility and cognition, but her speech was impaired.

Apashia today independence tomorrow

“The following day, she was writing out the months of the year, and when she got to September, she circled the twenty-fifth, for my birthday,” Ed recalls. “Over the next week, the words started coming back. It was really positive. I remember the speech-language pathologist asking Jennifer, ‘Who wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn?’ And Jennifer said, ‘He’s known as Mark Twain, but his real name is Samuel Clemens.’”


Jennifer’s rapid gains made her an ideal candidate for transfer to a high-intensity rehabilitation clinic less than two weeks after she broke her hip. “She went down there talking away,” Ed says. “But when I went to visit her the next day, she was quiet. I talked about our nephew’s plans to visit her, and she had this funny look on her face, like she didn’t understand who he was or what I was talking about.”

Ed then accompanied Jennifer to her occupational therapy session, and watched in horror as she struggled to build a child’s puzzle. “She didn’t have a clue where the pieces went. Clearly, she’d had another stroke.” A call from the neurologist later that night confirmed their fears. The second stroke had set Jennifer back.

“She went from a point of being able to tell me my birthday, talking well, and knowing what was going on to still knowing what was going on, but not being able to say anything,” Ed explains. “We had a picture of our five grandchildren, and I asked Jennifer, ‘Who’s this?’ and she couldn’t tell me.”

“I knew,” Jennifer is quick to add. “But couldn’t say.”


Jennifer was diagnosed with aphasia. Often caused by a stroke, aphasia is an impaired ability to produce or comprehend language—or both. It ranges from difficulty finding words to complete inability to speak, understand, read, and/or write. Jennifer’s thinking and reasoning abilities were unaffected, and she could understand people, but she couldn’t speak to them. She spent the next four weeks working on intensive inpatient rehab. On Halloween night, she went home. “She looked terrific, and it was really good to have her home,” Ed recalls.

But Jennifer quickly objects. “It was not good . . . not good. I just couldn’t . . . what is that . . . speak,” she says, shaking her head, disappointment and frustration evident. Over the past year, Jennifer has benefitted from continuing her physical, occupational, and speech therapy as an outpatient.

She feels her recovery has been enhanced by the apps developed by Tactus Therapy she uses. She spends about three hours a week with a group of therapists, and complements this work by working at home with the apps for at least an hour a day. “You have to do it,” Jennifer explains of the homework. “It’s very good.”


Jennifer’s early motivation was to learn to say and recall the names of all her grandchildren. Even with the name printed underneath each picture, she struggled to say “Sam” or “Ben.”

“Our kids were onto us right away about getting Mom an iPad and using technology,” Ed explains. “Our son drove the app engagement, and got us Language TherAppy.” Jennifer uses the apps independently to support what happens during her therapy sessions. Language TherAppy targets all four language modalities— listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The app uses proven techniques to help Jennifer relearn to identify and communicate single words.

The app consists of two receptive tools (Comprehension TherAppy and Reading TherAppy) and two expressive tools (Naming TherAppy and Writing TherAppy).

“We firmly believe that this is something that will continue to improve over a lengthy period of time,” Ed says. “There will be speed-up zones and slow-down zones. It’s not a steady pace.”

In the meantime, Jennifer continues to push forward. She’s made great progress. She can communicate well enough to get her ideas and thoughts across, and she uses various techniques to augment her conversations. She uses a dog-eared notebook, for example, to write down things she’s done, places she’s been, and people she knows. She refers to the notes to make socializing and conversing easier and to help her recall facts and dates. An alphabet chart helps cue her on people and place names.

Along with her speech therapy gains, Jennifer is also experiencing significant memory improvements and enjoying a better quality of life. But she yearns for independence.


Jennifer taught primary school for 25 years, and had a busy social and volunteering life after retiring. She finds the isolation of her condition difficult. She doesn’t like having to rely on her husband and on family and friends so much. She wants to be able to talk freely on the phone, schedule her own hair appointments, drive herself there, and travel. “I want to be more . . . what is it that name . . . independent,” she says.

An upcoming visit from a long-time friend gave Jennifer the excuse she was looking for. Her family helped her come up with a plan for travelling alone from the suburbs to downtown to meet with Jeannette, who was coming in from a neighboring province.

Armed with notes written by her husband, a list of phone numbers, and a cell phone, Jennifer followed her plan, which included an overnight visit with her daughter and more time navigating public transportation. Jennifer hadn’t seen Jeanette since before the stroke.

“I was early, so I went for a bit of a walk,” Jeannette recalls. “I saw her get out of the cab from about a block away, and I walked up to her and said, ‘Hello Mrs. Swaren.’ We hugged, and it was like we’d never been apart. It was good.”

They visited for more than four hours, catching up on old times the way good friends do. When Jennifer pulled out her notebook and alphabet chart, the former teachers both laughed. “It was like teaching grade one again,” Jeannette says.

Jennifer then left her friend Jeannette at the hotel and travelled back to the suburbs, ending her successful Independence Day back home. A relieved husband met her at the train station.

“It was good,” Jennifer agrees.

The original article appeared on the website of our good friends and supporters at Tactus Therapy. You can see it and more here:

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Three Ways to Add Speech Therapy to Everyday Activities

When a loved one suffers a stroke or acquired brain injury that results in aphasia, family members often want to assist in the recovery process. Questions regarding home activities that can assist with language and communication recovery frequently arise. However, it can be difficult for families to determine what types of activities would be beneficial and helpful.

three ways to add speech therapy

Below are just a few examples of various tasks and activities that have been modified to facilitate the person with aphasia’s (PWA) participation and communication. Using these methods, in addition to speech therapy, can help the PWA have successful communication in all aspects of their everyday life.  

  1. Add Speech Therapy to Everyday Tasks
  •  Preparing Lists and Grocery Shopping

Have the PWA copy the names of needed items from the grocery store flyer. See if they can try to say the words, or imitate a family member saying the words. While at the grocery store, see if they can locate items from the list.   You could also ask yes/no questions regarding the list. For example, “Do we need milk?”

  • Reading the Newspaper

Ask them to locate various sections of the newspaper (i.e. movie listings, sports section) to work on reading and listening skills. Review the weather forecast, as weather picture symbols are often listed for the local area, which can help with their understanding. Ask yes/no questions, such as, “Is it going to be sunny today?”, or “Is it going to snow today?”

  • Looking at Family Photos

Reminisce over family photos. Ask the PWA questions about the photos. They can be yes/no questions, either spoken or written down, or consider asking and writing a more open-ended question and providing the PWA possible answer choices. For example, speak and write: “What was your favorite activity at Disney World?” Then, write down and verbally review possible answers, such as, “a) seeing the castle; b) spending time with family; c) going on the rides; d) enjoying the nice weather; e) all of the above”. This provides the PWA with opportunities to express an opinion or make a comment.

  1. Use Specialized Workbooks and Software
  • Aphasia Workbooks

There are several companies that sell workbooks and other products to address speech and language difficulties. Linguisystems and The Speech Bin are just two examples. For additional options, a simple internet search for “Aphasia workbooks” will yield additional results.

  • Aphasia Computer Programs
    • Tactus Therapy has developed a wide range of apps for speech therapy to cover many goals and abilities:
    • Parrot Software offers a monthly internet subscription program for personal computers, as well as iPads. There are a variety of computer programs to address speech and language difficulties. Tasks can be modified for different levels of ability with corrective feedback provided.
    • Bungalow Software sells computer software programs with numerous options that are specifically designed to meet the needs of persons with aphasia and other communication difficulties. There are different levels of difficulty for many of the tasks with corrective feedback provided.
  1. Take Advantage of Books and Movies Adapted for Persons with Aphasia
  • Aphasia-Friendly Book Club

The Aphasia Center of California has created support materials for a number of popular books such as, “The Greatest Generation Speaks” by Tom Brokaw, and “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. These materials can be downloaded directly from the website for a fee. Fees vary, depending on the length of the book. The materials include chapter summaries that have been simplified, along with worksheets to stimulate discussion. Although intended for an aphasia book club, the materials can be utilized on an individual with basis with family members’ support. A speech-language pathologist can guide family members with how to best utilize these materials at home. This is a great way to continue an individual’s love of reading after a stroke.

  • Aphasia and the Movies

Speaking of Aphasia is an aphasia therapy practice in New Jersey that is heavily focused on the “life participation approach.” They offer “Aphasia Film Forum” support materials for internet download at a nominal fee. Movie titles include, “The Devil Wears Prada” with Meryl Streep and “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith. A speech-language pathologist can guide family members with how to best utilize these materials at home.

By: Kim Winter MA CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist at Hospital for Special Care

View this article online here:

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UBC/GF Strong Research Study

Research Study: Perceptions of Telerehabilitation in Stroke Recovery

Research Investigators: Dr. Janice Eng, Dr. Brodie Sakakibara, Jen Waring, Josina Rhebergen, Mary Edgar, Sarah Monsees, & Todd Van der Star

Researchers from G.F. Strong & UBC are studying the potential uses of telerehabilitation in people who have had a stroke.

Telerehabilitation is the use of communication technologies (e.g. the internet, cell phone, computers, tablets) to deliver rehabilitation services from a distance. It is important because it has the potential to increase access to rehabilitation and improve quality of care.

The purpose of this study is to learn from people who have had a stroke about the communication technologies they use, and their interest in using them to receive rehabilitation services. This study aims to guide future research and development of telerehabilitation programs.

Who can participate?

  • Those who have experienced a stroke
  • 19 years and older
  • Live in the community
  • Able to understand English

What do I need to do?

  • Participants will complete a written, phone, or online survey (preference determined by the participant) that is approximately 10-15 minutes in length

Participants will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card for completing the survey.

Please contact the research investigators if you are interested in participating in this study or if you would like more information 


Phone: 604-714-4109.



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Photovoice Study

Exploring the lived experience of stroke survivors








“At an extremely expensive restaurant the waiter ignored me and asked my wife if I needed  a straw for my Martini. He also would not arrange for my meat to be cut up in the kitchen”

Linh Huynh and Marie Maratos, Master of Occupational Therapy students at the University of British Columbia, along with Jordan Lui and Julia Tan, Doctor of Medicine Students, are conducting a research study titled, Picture This: Exploring the lived experience of stroke survivors, under the supervision of Dr. Tal Jarus, PhD. Given that the incidence of stroke is on the rise and high functioning stroke survivors are more likely to return home, providing community services that meet their needs is critical. Often these individuals have invisible impacts from their stroke that prevent them from receiving appropriate supports and services within the community. Picture This uses the methodology of photovoice as a collaborative approach in which the participants are the experts of their experience and the research team is a facilitator of the inquiry process. Participants are asked to photo-document as a means of capturing their lived experience. A community exhibition will be held for participants to present their pictures and stories. Findings from this study will inform the disciplines of occupational therapy and medicine of the barriers that high functioning stroke survivors experience on a daily basis and may help to guide future development of supports and services for this population.

Five Shaughnessy Branch members have been participants in the above study. They have showed terrific attention to detail in their photos and in discussions with the students afterwards. Starting with meetings last September and a one hour assessment and weekly one hour meetings since January they are to be congratulated for all their diligence.

The results of the study will an exhibition of their photos on March 24th @1:00pm at the Shaughnessy Stroke Recovery Branch, 1550 West 33 Ave. Vancouver. Please come and join us. Thank you to students from UBC, Department of Occupational Therapy & Faculty of Medicine, and the Shaughnessy Branch members, Greg McKinstry, Dannielle Hayes, Doug Napier, Doug Scattergood and Vaughan Weber.

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