Would a jet pack enable you to live better? Our next tweetchat June 16th at 5pm BST!

Since November last year, I’ve been working closely  with the charity Devices 4 Dignity to conceptualise, plan and deliver a unique patient-led event to better understand patients unmet needs, who are living with long term conditions and it got me thinking. Why don’t we have a #strokerecovery  tweetchat on how we can better help recovering stroke survivors, live more independently, in their day-to-day lives?  Let’s remove ‘dis’ in disability and see if we can help stroke survivors, their families, therapists, researchers or companies come up with ideas to enable people more.

disABIlity

When I think of basic living activities that we do everyday like bathing, washing, dressing and going to the toilet.  There are also instrumental activities such as preparing meals, housecleaning and managing finances. Finally, there are meaningful personal and leisure activities like mindfulness, socialisation, or walking the dog either on foot of with an affordable, suitable mobility scooter!

Over the years, I have delivered a few speeches on assistive technology  I think of some of the things we have been told over the years, which you too may have come across.

‘I wish my panic alarm was waterproof and it looked less medical’

or

‘I wish I could remove my underwear with one hand when I go to the loo.’

or

‘I wish I could switch off all my lights and switches with one go.’

or

‘My catheter is so fiddly to fit’

or

‘What would help me improve my speaking voice?’

or

‘My bathroom looks like a hospital WC!’

or

‘I struggle to open my medicine packets.’

or

‘I feel so invisible in my wheelchair.’

or

‘I am so low. How to I help myself meet other stroke survivors who understand.’

or

‘I am physically struggling with my toddlers, can anything help me?’

or

‘I’d like to clean my house myself.’ (Not something that remotely bothered Kate Allatt by the way!)

housework

‘I can’t cope with the household bills.’

or

‘How can I take control of my physical recovery? Is there some sort of exercise plan for me I can follow so I can walk again on my own?’

These are just some comments we’ve come across in people pursuit of trying to take control, enablement back in their own lives. Why, for example, do we not have an ‘Amazon-type’ shopping service which allows patients to input their unmet need and it throws up a series of approved companies/products that could help.  Also, why do we not make some of the assistive technology more affordable with more finance and leasing options ?  For example, we buy sofas on higher purchase and most people rent, as opposed to owning, cars now?

We are absolutely delighted to welcome two new hosts to our tweetchat – @Sas_Freeman, stroke survivor, mentor and speaker; and @jo_Howe psychological researcher into chronic stroke rehabilitation at the University of Birmingham.

assistive tech

 

@KateAllatt

Stroke survivor

@FightingStrokes founder/CEO 

Internationally published author – Running Free

The Brazilian World Cup inspired our next #strokerecovery & technology Tweetchat! Spread the word & RT!

If you cast your mind back to the Brazillian World Cup, what would be your abiding memory?

 

The now infamous (and vicious) Suarez bite, the best player of the tournament – Thomas Muller (perhaps?), the winning team (Germany-  if you’ve forgotten)- or the off-the-pitch news stories of widespread brothels (or zonas), the cheap and seemingly widespread child prostitution, the spotlight on the world’s biggest crack market, the new (but un-shocking) FIFA corruption allegations, the carnival atmosphere, or other?

 

For me, it was actually none of the above.

Instead, it was the powerful image of a paraplegic walking in a brain controlled exoskeleton during the opening ceremony!

This huge advancement in technology also reminds me of the paralysed man who was able to walk again after pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord. His name is Darek Fidyka. You can remind yourself by watching his video here.

These developments offer massive REAL hope for paraplegic, locked in syndrome and other stroke survivors to actually walk again. If only Christopher Reeve had seen his visionary dream become a reality. I guess it would almost be like, Robocop meeting Superman!

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To walk again and be able to give a fellow human eye to eye contact, to be treated as an equal, is a fundamental need. As are these hugely important (and dignity enhancing) daily living activities – communication, eating, washing, continence and toileting, dressing, grooming and having decisions made about you with you. Technology in #strokerecovery helps us to communicate, eat, drink, dress, wash, go to the toilet, shop, manage our medications, improve, improve our cognition, psychological issues and allows us to easily share and support other stroke survivors, amongst other things.

 

There are so many technological advances combining gaming (a great way to engage with younger children incidentally) and virtual reality technologies to be used as part of our individualised, self-management stroke recovery programme.

 

It’s worth bearing in mind that the word ‘technology’ can arouse thoughts of high-tech (and expensive) technological gizmos, but according to Wikipedia:

 

‘Technology  is making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, to solve a problem, improve an existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, or perform a specific function.

 

Technology affects our ability to control and adapt to our natural environment.’

 

Therefore, our next Tweetchat blog will be about #strokerecovery and technology at 5pm GMT on 10the March 2015.

 

If you want to prepare your responses our proposed Tweetchat questions will be.

 

T1. What technology do you use/offer in #strokerecovery therapy?

 

T2. Is there some technology you would use but don’t? Is it just about cost? #strokerecovery

 

T3. What are the main barriers to treating #strokerecovery survivors with technology?

 

T4. Can we overcome those technological intervention barriers? Is it not just cost? #strokerecovery

 

T5. How do you find out about evidence-based #strokerecovery technology?

 

 

NEW EBOOK!

I Am Still The Same -Self help stroke recovery tool

Internationally published author ‘Running Free’ (Amazon) .  Speaker –   Founder Fighting Strokes

Kate’s story in 2 minutes