Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here Is My Idea

Proposal for Stroke Recovery DVD

I am a professional videographer and producer with 30 years experience who is developing a DVD on the various aspects of stroke recovery because this information is not easily available to the people who need it most: stroke survivors and their caregivers. I know this to be true because I am a stroke survivor myself and it has been difficult to find critical information to facilitate my own recovery. It would be a significant boon to stroke patients and to the stroke community to have most of the information needed in one convenient location that could be accessed easily, at home. Because a DVD enables the user to navigate to the specific information they need, the user could watch only the material they wanted.

The idea for this stroke DVD was born out of need and frustration. On April 4, 2008, I had a right-side hemorrhagic stroke. After 5 days at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC, I was released to CarePartners, a rehab hospital also in Asheville. After 17 days there, they determined I was able to go home. When they discharged me, I was left without a source of information about stroke in general, my condition in particular, and my recovery therapies. I did attend 30 physical and occupational therapy outpatient sessions (all my insurance would pay for) and followed the instructions I was given so that I could continue the exercises at home. Every day, I wished my therapists were there to go over the recovery routines with me. While I made lists to remember what exercises I needed to do, what I really wanted was to watch them on TV and follow along. Another source of frustration was that I was released to the care of my family doctor and quickly discovered that there are no “stroke doctors” and that the information a patient needs to medically manage their recovery is spread out over a large number of sources.

The purpose of this DVD would be to bring together in one place most of the information a stroke survivor needs for their total recovery. All of the information would be menu-driven so the patient could watch just the sections that pertain to their individual needs. The DVD would be designed to provide useful information to patients at any stage of recovery and would contain, among other things, outpatient facility information and therapeutic exercises to do at home. The exercises should be used often so they would be easy to get to from the main menu. The program would be aimed at patients just released from a rehab hospital and could be handed out to them as they are discharged from the facility. But, because recovery continues over the patient’s lifetime, the program would be valuable at any stage of the process.

As anyone who has dealt with stroke can tell you, a positive attitude is critical to recovery. The entire DVD would have an overtone of how important it is to maintain a good attitude. It would also stress that each recovery is different and that your recovery is governed by the principle that you will get out of it what you put into it. The program would feature interviews with psychologists and psychiatrists on attitude, grieving, moving on, and being the best new you that you can be. It would also interview stroke survivors who have great success stories and show them involved in normal or surprising activities. It would then explore how they achieved their successes and how much attitude and perseverance had to do with it.

There will also be sections dealing with post-stroke medical information; interviews with various doctors on bleeding strokes and clotting strokes (these would be two different DVD menu choices); and information on blood pressure, cholesterol, clots, blood thinners, etc.

I would also include a section on therapies and modalities for most of the common stroke issues. There are many new technologies out there to make patients aware of like VitalStim, AutoAmbulator, It's Never Too Late, and SaeboFlex to mention just a few.

In the physical-therapy section, several therapists would address the numerous questions that stroke patients have about their recovery. The exercises could be demonstrated so that the patient would see the correct way to perform them. There could also be a separate section, facilitated by physical therapists, on three or four levels of exercises the patient can do at home to strengthen their affected side and improve balance. It will include demonstrations and tips on how to walk better, including heel-walking, toe-walking, high-stepping, and hopping, because at home it is hard to remember everything you did at PT. The program would also stress how important it is for the survivor to continue to do the exercises on their own, and would include tips on how to integrate PT into the patient’s day-to-day activities. Similar sections would address occupational therapy, as well as arm and shoulder therapy, following the same format as the physical therapy section. Both of these sections would include exercises demonstrated by OTs. All of this is aimed at helping the patient overcome deficits.

The DVD could also interview rehab-center managers on their facility’s particular stroke-recovery philosophy and feature a brief tour of the facility. It would also include information on how to prevent another stroke, such as by losing weight, managing blood pressure, decreasing risky behaviors, eating healthily, being active, and staying involved with other people.

There would also be a section for family caregivers dealing with how to equip a home to optimize it for stroke patients, such as using shower chairs, wheelchairs, and other adaptive equipment, in addition to addressing the challenges of day-to-day life with a stroke patient.

In short, this DVD would bring together much of the information currently known regarding strokes and present it in an easy-to-use format that would empower the stroke patient to take charge of their own recovery, thus facilitating a more successful outcome. I hope that you will be excited by this proposed DVD and will want to work with me to bring it to fruition. I have the involvement of the National Stroke Association and their Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery Network (SRN) and they are going to provide me with some guidance. Their website will be an important research tool. If it meets their guidelines, they will promote it on their website and through their newsletters. A portion of the proceeds will be dedicated to stroke prevention and recovery.


  1. This sounds like exactly what I am looking for.

  2. Great ideas. I am a stroke survivour frm India. Would be really a great asset.goodluck

  3. I am the wife of a stroke survivor in Malaysia. Is the DVD done? I am interested to get a copy for for my stroke-stricken husband on how to better deal with his residual physical impairment.

  4. I believe I may've suffered a stroke of some sort in 2006, during a routine medical procedure done with general anesthesia. I lost my muscle tone and much of my cognitive abilities. I'm interested to hear your trajectory.

  5. I believe I may've suffered a stroke of some sort in 2006, during a routine medical procedure done with general anesthesia. I lost my muscle tone and much of my cognitive abilities. I'm interested to hear your trajectory.

  6. Hmmmm... how is the project coming along? It sounds like a terrific idea, but I see no recent updates. It would be such an invaluable tool for so many people, I believe I would like to support it if I could follow its evolution.

    1. I've had funding issues. I'm working on a less ambitious version with the working title - 101 Things You Can Do At Home To Get Better From A Stroke.