Perry County Stroke Support Group Joins National Registry

MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Bowling, beth.bowling@uky.edu, 606-439-3557

Perry County Stroke Support Group Joins National Registry; Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

Hazard, Ky. (July 21, 2017) – The Perry County Stroke Support Group is now registered with the National Stroke Association, according to Keisha Hudson, a patient navigator at the University of Kentucky (UK) Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH).

The support group was established two years ago as part of a larger program known as the Kentucky Care Coordination for Community Transition (KC3T) Program.  KC3T is a collaboration between UK CERH, UK College of Health Sciences (CHS) and Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) that offers patient navigation services to help individuals who have had a stroke, transient ischemic attack or other neurological condition, to successfully transition back into their community.  The program also heavily involves patients’ caregivers.

“Perry County had never had a stroke survivor and caregiver support group, so this was a wonderful opportunity for the program partners to join efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of our participants,” said Patrick Kitzman, a professor at the UK CHS who leads the KC3T program.

“Having our support group registered with the National Stroke Association elevates our exposure to help our group grow and thrive,” said Hudson who coordinates both the support group and the KC3T program. “New patients and caregivers can easily search for groups at www.stroke.org to learn how to connect with the support group and other KC3T services. A wealth of free resources and education are also available,” said Hudson.

Hudson said a guest speaker is hosted each month to share practical information like modified exercises to stay active, nutrition and recipes, as well as preventing recurrent strokes, medication management and more.  Just as importantly, “members motivate each other and share ideas on how to approach the challenges in their daily lives during stroke recovery,” said Hudson.

“The stroke support group has been very beneficial to us, as a stroke survivor and a caregiver,” said Tonya Kincaid, who joined the support group with her husband after he suffered a stroke.  “Not only have we met people who understand our troubles and trials, but we have made lifelong friends,” Kincaid said.

“The stroke navigator program is an invaluable component of comprehensive stroke care in Appalachia. Within the vast array of services offered, there have emerged certain tools for stroke survivors. One such tool that has left an indelible mark on the community of Hazard, KY is the stroke support group,” said Dr. James Hammock, ARH Medical Director for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

“Stroke recovery research has indicated time and again that there is strength in numbers. The American Stroke Association lists involvement in a support group as a key factor in optimal stroke recovery, as ‘Stroke groups challenge people to go beyond their doctor-imposed, therapist-imposed, family-imposed, and self-imposed limitations’,” Dr. Hammock added.

“As the first of its kind in the region, the program originated through cooperation and dedication of a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals who continue to endeavor to elevate the state of stroke care in Appalachia,” said Dr. Hammock

Perry County Stroke Support meetings are co-hosted each month by the UK CERH and Hazard ARH.  They are held the 4th Wednesday of each month at 5:00 pm at Hazard ARH Hospital.  “The meetings are conveniently located at the hospital to enable patients who are receiving rehabilitation care, and their caregivers, to easily attend and begin forming a support system before they are discharged,” said Violet Sylvia, ARH System Director of Rehabilitation and co-founder of KC3T.

Anyone from the community can join and new members are always welcome.  For more information contact Keisha Hudson at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health at 606-439-557 or email keisha.hudson@uky.edu.

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Photo: Perry County Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group Members 

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