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Stroke rehab patients helped to turn the page

Interact reading service at Moseley Hall Hospital
Actor Terina Talbot reading to patient Marie Parnell, recovering from a stroke at Moseley Hall Hospital.
Patients recovering from a stroke at Moseley Hall Hospital are benefiting from a literary boost to their morale and their rehab regime.

Professional actors from national charity InterAct visit hospitals and stroke clubs across the UK to read short stories, poems, jokes or factual material chosen by individuals as part of their rehabilitation programme.

Among patients to benefit from the service is Marie Parnell, who was unconscious for several weeks after suffering a stroke at her home in Harborne.

An active 71-year-old, Marie is determined to do all she can to return to her busy social life consisting of four regular dance clubs a week and regular trips to the cinema and theatre with husband Ken.

“My husband visits most days if he can but it can still be a long day,” says the grandmother-of-three.

“I’m being very well cared for and the physios work with me each morning but any extra visitors or activities to keep my morale up are very welcome.

“It’s just keeping your mind active. The readers are so nice, they choose material to suit each individual person’s taste and it gives you something interesting to focus on rather than the reasons you’re in hospital.”

Clinical team leader Nelson Amao said: “When a person is recovering from a stroke, it’s very important that they have support to recover lost neurological function as well as physical mobility.

“We aim to provide a clinical environment where people feel that their personal needs and wishes are respected and, as far as possible, catered for.

“The reading service is a great example of how social, recreational and therapeutic rewards can be derived from the same interaction.”

Interact admin leader Rochi Rampal, who is a reader herself, said: “Our actors read to around 5,000 people a year.  Feedback from stroke survivors and carers tells us that this interaction delivers huge emotional and rehabilitation benefits.

“The simple act of reading something funny, interesting, moving or thought-provoking to a person recovering from a stroke has huge benefits for their morale and their ability to recover.”

www.interactreading.org