​By: Darlene Bowman RN, BN, CNN(c), Stroke Specialist Case Manager, Kingston General Hospital

Healthcare professionals recognize that people living with stroke need more than medical treatment. Education and support contributes to health by equipping people with knowledge and skills that help maximize their capacities (Heisler, 2006). It helps them self-manage their health and healthcare.

As part of Kingston General Hospital’s (KGH) commitment to “Outstanding Care Always”, we looked at how we partner with stroke survivors and their families to provide information and support. We built a team of experts that included patients, families, caregivers, Patient Experience Advisors, and an interprofessional group of healthcare providers. We started by interviewing our patients and their loved ones to determine what they felt they needed. At the same time, we surveyed healthcare providers to learn what they felt was important for patients and families to know. We grouped all the information into themes, compared the two groups and looked for commonalities. These themes informed the content and format of our educational strategy.

The result was a comprehensive education plan. As part of that plan, we designed a patient-and family-centred guide entitled “Partners in Stroke Recovery”. We used health literacy and readability principles, and aligned it with the Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke. It was developed for print and as a free to download iBook. Both versions of the guide underwent a number of revisions based on feedback from all stakeholders.

Contemporary iBook technology helps meet information and health literacy needs both independently and in collaboration with healthcare partners. It was designed in an easy to use interactive multi-touch format. This format facilitates easy navigation of 7 chapters of information guided by what stroke survivors, their loved ones and caregivers told us was important to them. Published in the iBooks store, the book includes topics such as stroke basics, signs and symptoms of stroke and transient ischemic attack​ (TIA), what to expect as one recovers, community resources, and a chapter for caregivers. It can be downloaded to iPads, iPhones and Apple computers by going to the iBooks store and searching “Kingston General Hospital” or “stroke”.

To download a PDF version of the guide or for a link to the iBook go to the Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario website at www.strokenetworkseo.ca.

For information contact Darlene Bowman at bowmand@kgh.kari.net.