Rainey J, Murczek K. The implementation of health care system virtual stroke support group during COVID-19 and its lasting impact. Covid Innovations poster presented at Nursing Passion: Re-Igniting the Art & Science, Advocate Aurora Health Nursing & Research Conference 2022; November 9, 2022; virtual.
COVID Innovations poster presented at Nursing Passion: Re-Igniting the Art & Science, Advocate Aurora Health Nursing & Research Conference 2022; November 9, 2022; virtual.
Introduction: In the United States there are nearly 800,000 strokes per year. Approximately one-third of stroke survivors experience depression and decreased quality of life. Stroke support groups offer social support and have been shown to increase functional outcomes, increase the survivor’s sense of self-efficacy, and improve self-esteem. Unfortunately, in-person stroke support groups were unavailable due to social distancing and stay at home orders that were instituted during the peak of Covid-19.
Rationale: Stroke coordinators of the IL Advocate Aurora Health system recognized that it was important to provide a support group for their stroke survivors during this time. Therefore, the team decided to hold a virtual monthly stroke support group.
Method: The support group was held on the Zoom platform. The groups were facilitated by Katherine Murczek, Advocate Christ’s Stroke Program Manager and Joy Rainey, Advocate Condell’s Stroke Program Coordinator. Every month a reminder email including the link to the meeting and topic is sent out to the participants.
Results: The first virtual support group was held July 2020 and has continued to be held monthly. Topics included recreational programs such as golf, boxing, cycling, and sailing. Multiple research studies needing stroke survivor participants have been presented. An average of fifteen participants attends each month.
Conclusion: This stroke support group has connected stroke survivors from southern Wisconsin to the south side of Chicago. They feel they are supported and understood. They have decided that they would like to continue the group even though in-person groups are possible at this time.
Implications for Practice: The virtual health system stroke support group offered participants a way to connect to other stroke survivors during times when in-person groups were not available. They continue to build a community of support and have requested that this group be continued. A virtual platform should be a consideration for any support group.