On Wednesday evening of this week, I took part in an event held at the Scottish Parliament and hosted by Dennis Robertson MSP, to celebrate the publication of the Charter for People Living with Stroke in Scotland – 10,000 copies of this have been distributed to individuals and organisations across Scotland and there is also a website which you can visit by clicking here or on the link above. The website explains the rationale behind the Charter – the Charter itself is published in an accessible format in print and on-line. There is also an aphasia-friendly version on the website.
It has been a privilege to be part of the small sub-group of the Cross Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke which drew up the Charter in consultation with individuals and organisations across Scotland, and with the wholehearted support of the late Helen Eadie MSP, who chaired the group, and whose absence at Wednesday evening’s event was keenly felt by all present. What has been particularly encouraging to me as a layman, is to see health and social care professionals across a number of disciplines working collaboratively on this project. If long-term care and rehabilitation for stroke survivors is to be effective, it is exactly this kind of co-operative working that is needed – with support from our politicians, who ultimately control the strategic direction and, importantly, purse strings of health care in Scotland.
Of course, a piece of paper or images on a website can do little on their own – if the Charter is to fulfil its purpose of empowering stroke survivors, their carers and representatives to seek out services from health and social care then it needs to be distributed as widely as possible – you can do your bit by forwarding the website link to someone who is affected by stroke. One in six of us will have a stroke, so there is almost certainly someone you know who might appreciate this information.
I remember only too clearly the feeling of confusion and isolation that I felt on being discharged from hospital and trying, with my family, to deal with a life utterly changed. There is professional support out there, but you have to be proactive in seeking it out at a time in your life when it is very difficult to focus on doing so. If the Charter helps even one or two stroke survivors or their carers to feel empowered to seek help, it will have served its purpose.
Meanwhile, Archie is growing in size and energy by the day – here he is helping Master to enjoy a stressful Scotland rugby match after a long walk in the woods.