Monthly support groups are offered free to the community at Riverside Regional Medical Center.

Newport News, Va. – As the nation’s fifth leading cause of death, strokes impact millions of people each year. While a fast diagnosis and quick treatment of stroke can save someone’s life, the disease can often leave a lasting impact on a patient and their loved ones.

To help in the recovery and rehabilitation process, Riverside Regional Medical Center continues to offer monthly support groups to both stroke survivors and their caregivers, providing them with a safe, comfortable environment where they can receive encouragement and support.

The Stroke Survivors and Care Partners Support Group currently meets the second Tuesday of each month in Conference Room C at Riverside Regional Medical Center located off of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Newport News, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“Stroke survivors and their caregivers need help adjusting to the changes that have happened in their lives,” said Sara Watkins, Stroke Program Coordinator at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. “It is important to share experiences and advice, and a support groups gives patients and caregivers a forum for learning, listening and socializing with other people going through a similar difficulty.”

Stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain or normal blood flow to the brain is blocked. Within minutes, brain cells can start dying. As a result, stroke is the most common cause of adult disability. Post-stroke conditions include emotional and personality and changes, physical limitations and cognitive impairments.

“Experiencing a stroke can be confusing and scary,” said Watkins. “Because Riverside has a large community network, we are able to bring in different resources that the group requests info about – for example, we have brought in the director from Riverside’s Center of Excellence in Aging to discuss driver rehabilitation and recently had one of our neuropsychologists attend a meeting.”

In 2015, Riverside Regional Medical Center was designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center by DNV GL Healthcare, southeast Virginia’s only center with this designation, which acknowledges the medical center for consistently providing the most advanced stroke treatment available, including the personnel, infrastructure, and expertise to diagnose and treat stroke patients who require intensive medical and surgical care, specialized tests, and/or interventional therapies.

Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital on the Eastern Shore and Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester are Designated Stroke Centers, which recognizes hospitals that meet the standards to support better stroke outcomes.

Later this fall, following the grand opening of the new Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital in Yorktown, the location of the support groups will change.

“This new location will allow us to support patients in various stages in their stroke recovery,” said Watkins. “Long-standing members can be there to support the patients who have recently suffered a stroke and offer advice and coping mechanisms to start their recovery.”

For more information about attending a Stroke Survivors and Care Partners Support Group, contact Sara Watkins at 757-612-8278.

Published: May 13, 2019