Getting People Back to Work After a Stroke

Getting people back to work after a stroke is vitally important, if not easy. A stroke can hit any of us and is careless of status, expertise or circumstance. It can come out of the blue to turn our world upside down. It doesn’t mean that the person cannot still be an invaluable member of staff.

Here is a first-hand account from Alan Batup. Alan Batup

My stroke happened in September 2013 and I spent a total of 3 months in hospital. During that time I graduated from not being able to walk, use my right arm, see out my right eye or speak, to a gradual improvement in all things. 

After leaving hospital I spent a further year putting myself through exercise regimes and mental exercises until I felt that I was fit enough to return to work. By than I had completed a 5 mile walk around Virginia Water (with a crutch), I had become an Ambassador for the Stroke Association and I took on the chairmanship of a small charity that helps stroke survivors with their speech difficulties. My eyesight had improved and I got about 30% improvement in my right arm.

I started back at my job in December 2014. Although the company has been good, in terms of trying to fit around me during my return to work phase, they were pretty much at a loss as to what to do with a stroke survivor. I tried to tell them that their prescribed plan for my return to work would not work for me as it involved a lot of note taking (I’m right handed, so having to write with my left hand is difficult and my eyesight in my right eye is still not good enough to read with). It also involves presentations to senior management and directors. This is pretty stressful, which I’m to avoid at all costs.

I have now sent them some leaflets from the Stroke Association that gives good practical advice.  Employers can follow this to help stroke survivors return to work successfully. They are now rethinking their approach and will no doubt make my journey a little easier.

A stroke happens every 3.5 minutes to someone in the UK, so by the time you have read this far, another person has been hit with a stroke. That’s 150,000 strokes a year and yet there is still widespread ignorance about the cause and the effects of strokes.

Hopefully my company can change its approach to the way it handles stroke survivors in the future. Somehow, someway we need to spread the word to as many companies as possible.

If you would like to talk to me about my experience, please call 07802 188630.  Alan Batup.

As an employer:

  1. How do you manage people, who still have so much to give, back into work?
  2. Do you have a mental health strategy in place?
  3. How does your culture support people with mental health challenges?

We need more people to talk about mental health. The ‘mind your head challenge’ is to encourage you to spread the word and help get more people back to work after a stroke. My thanks to Alan Batup for sharing his inspirational story with us.

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