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4 Stroke Engine Club

4 Stroke Engine Club

A new project for stroke survivors sees them dismantling cars as a form of rehabilitation.

The Four Stroke Engine Club is about getting "blokes with strokes", aged in their 20s to 60s, under the bonnet of an impounded car for therapeutic rehabilitation.

The idea launched at Manfeild last week after health psychologist Dr Sara Joice noticed many struggle with traditional, clinical settings designed primarily for geriatric patients.

So when one of her clients – and a founding member of the club – told Joice he loved car racing, she made some inquiries.

A bit of networking revealed Manfeild was keen to jump on board together with the Manawatu stroke support unit, the Stewart Centre.

Joice said the group met under the car bonnet twice a week.

It helped some of the sufferers to overcome disabilities, such as loss of muscle control, co-ordination, speech impairment and memory loss.

But it was psychological affects like loss of confidence, self-esteem and social contact the club assists the most with.

"It's about having meaningful activity to engage the brain," Joice said. "It might look messy, but dismantling a car involves problem-solving and deductive reasoning.

"What's helpful too is that they are accepting of each other and tolerant of the challenges each is facing in their recovery – because stroke affects everybody differently."

Many of the patients she had came through a partnership between Massey University's Psychology Clinic and MidCentral District Health Board.

They don't fit the traditional stroke-patient profile for age and post-stroke life expectations. They want to return to work, family life and pursue other activities, she said.

The idea provides therapeutic benefits through a structured, fun and sociable activity in a non-clinical and non-stigmatised environment.

Removed parts are sent to wreckers' yards for spares and the car bodies converted for stock car racing.

Traditionally, formal rehabilitation tended to focus on things survivors couldn't do rather than what they could, Joice said.

"Growing evidence suggests that engaging survivors in meaningful activities at which they can practise, physically and mentally, has greater benefit.

"Generally, the focus of care provided by health services tends to be preventative or aimed at the acute phase of stroke, which potentially can overlook ongoing rehabilitative aspects."

Stroke Central Region would like to start up new groups like this that will appeal to the under 65’s group, as we need more ways of engaging stroke survivors in social activities and involving younger members in our clubs and groups.

If you would like more information on how to set up your own 4 Stroke Engine Club or if you have an idea for other stroke groups with a specific interest in your own area, please contact Stroke Central Region

0800 2988 58 or stroke@strokecentral.org.nz


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