Cumbria Crack

Dance helping stroke patients in innovative arts and health scheme

An innovative project using dance to build confidence, co-ordination and capability among survivors of stroke is improving the quality of life for those taking part.

The initiative is being celebrated as part of World Stroke Day on Monday October 29.

The dance and movement classes have been specially designed to support people to move more, reduce isolation and encourage better wellbeing and the results are encouraging.

Susie Tate, arts co-ordinator for Healing Arts, the arts programme at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, developed the scheme. She said: “There is a growing evidence base demonstrating the physical and social benefits of dance in stroke recovery and for stroke survivors. The creative aspect of dance offers people a way into movement where there are no rights or wrongs and can help people re-connect with their body in a non-medical way.”

Life after stroke can be very different for survivors of stroke and their families. Social isolation can be a real challenge when previous pastimes are out of reach and confidence has been lost.

The sessions are currently being held at the Dance department at the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road Campus on Wednesday between 11am and 12.30pm. There is a small charge with companions able to take part for free.

Susie is supported by an MSc Occupational Therapy student and a Dance student; interdisciplinary learning across departments is key to the development and continuation of dance in health. The progress of those taking part is being studied.

Susie added: “We’d love to see the scheme offered more widely across our area and will be working in partnership with Oxford based company, Rosetta Life, whose performance of Stroke Odysseys took place at Theatre by the Lake earlier in October, to grow the work across Cumbria.”

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