iPads help stroke victims’ rehabilitation

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The latest technology is being used to help North Otago people who have suffered from a stroke with their recovery.
The Oamaru Stroke Support Group, affiliated to the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, recently donated two iPads to the speech and language therapy department at Oamaru Hospital.
They will be loaned out to patients who suffer from aphasia, or problems with speech and language.
Stroke Foundation of New Zealand community stroke adviser Debbie Huls said aphasia had a profound impact on patients and their families.
“Aphasia is a broad term which covers problems with speech and language and may also include difficulties with reading and writing. People who suffer from aphasia can often feel isolated due to difficulties with speech and communication.”
Oamaru Hospital speech and language therapy department therapist Anna Keno said special applications and programmes could be downloaded on to an iPad to assist with recovery.
“We’ve used and trialled quite a lot of applications,” Mrs Keno said.
“It’s just another resource – it’s mobile, accessible and can be updated easily.”
One of those who will benefit from the technology is 60-year-old Rob McCauley, who had a haemorrhagic stroke in May.
Thanks to the quick actions of his wife, Linda, who recognised stroke symptoms, Mr McCauley was transported to Oamaru Hospital by ambulance, triaged and given a scan to determine the extent of his brain bleed.
He was then transferred to Dunedin Hospital for surgery to alleviate swelling and bleeding.
As a result, he now has problems with speech and language and has also had problems with mobility.
However, that had improved rapidly over the past few months and he was back playing darts at the North Otago Darts Club.
“To start with, I couldn’t do anything – now I can,” Mr McCauley said.
He was excited about using the iPad to help in his recovery and felt it would make life easier for him.