NRMC stroke support group to meet

Published 10:45 pm Monday, July 7, 2008

There are over 4 million people in the United States who have survived a stroke or brain attack and are living with the after-effects.

Additionally, there are spouses, children and parents who live with and care for stroke survivors who are greatly affected by stroke because of their own altered lifestyle. Ten percent of stroke survivors recover almost completely. Twenty-five percent recover with minor impairments. Forty percent experience moderate to severe impairments requiring special care, and 10 percent require the care of a long-term care facility.

Caring for a stroke survivor can be stressful. Often the caregiver is concerned that his/her loved one will have another stroke. Accepting the changes caused by the stroke may be difficult. Friends and extended family often are unsure how to relate to the stroke survivor and isolation may occur for both the stroke survivor and the caregiver. After surviving a stroke, many of these survivors and families look for a support group to help with moving forward.

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Natchez Regional Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Unit is accredited by the Commisssion for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. It is designed to help patients regain the greatest level of functional independence possible through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and rehabilitation nursing. Toward this goal, the Rehabilitation Unit is sponsoring a support group to help stroke survivors, families and caregivers socialize, gain realistic feedback, and share information. It will be a time to talk among people who know what you are going through along the path of recovery.

On July 17, Natchez Regional Medical Center will host the next organizational meeting for stroke survivors, families and caregivers. The meeting will be in the Cypress Room on the first floor of the hospital from noon to 1 p.m. A light, nutritional meal will be provided. The meeting is an educational meeting hosted by the fifth floor Rehabilitation Unit staff. The topic will be “Vision and Stroke.” Additionally, we will discuss options for organization of the group and the format for future meetings. Anyone interested in participating may contact me at 601-443-2550 for directions or more information.

Stroke recovery is a lifelong process. There are moments of great achievement and times of setbacks. You are not alone in this journey. Please join with fellow stroke survivors, families and caregivers in our community and support each other along the way.

Pat Jonaitis is a speech pathologist at Natchez Regional Medical Center.