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Every year, more than 50,000 people in Canada have a stroke, and while some survivors regain all function, others are left with residual and permanent changes. For many, the greatest challenge is after they have been discharged from hospital.

“The goal of the March of Dimes Canada’s After Stroke Program is to assist people in that space between hospital and home,” says Mary Lynne Stewart, national director of Fund Development and Communications, March of Dimes Canada (MODC).

“When someone has a stroke, everything changes, not just for the stroke survivor but also for their family and caregivers,” she says.

MODC’s first contact with a stroke survivor is often when a trained volunteer visits a stroke survivor in hospital to provide hope, support and information.

This hospital visitation is one of several MODC programs designed to ease the transition from hospital to home. Others include the provision of information and education to aid the recovery process, such as self-management, caregiver support, wellness and prevention of secondary strokes.

Two parallel programs support a successful transition from home to community, says Ms. Stewart. The first focuses on supporting individuals to regain some function or develop strategies for managing the residual and permanent changes. These programs range from exercise and reading to aphasia camps and wellness retreats.

The second encourages community re-engagement and includes peer support, recreation, respite and AccessAbility services.

While MODC fulfills an important role in its practical support, it is also an advocate for the needs of stroke survivors and caregivers, as well as research, says Ms. Stewart.

“MODC brings attention to the lack of resources available to community-based services that support community re-engagement. We also support research through an investment in the University of Toronto March of Dimes Paul J.J. Martin Early Career Professorship,” she adds.

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.