Stroke patients at University Hospital Llandough received a surprise visit from Welsh actor Owen Teale who treated them to readings of his favourite poems, short stories and authors.
The actor, famed for his role’s in Game of Thrones and Stella attended the Stroke Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) at University Hospital Llandough as part of the work UK charity InterAct Stroke Support are doing at the SRC.
InterAct Stroke Support is a charity dedicated to supporting stroke recovery by using professional actors to deliver a stimulating and rich variety of reading material selected to suit the needs of stroke patients. The charity have worked closely with the SRC over the past few months and stroke patients have reaped the benefits of this unique experience.
Louise Fullman and Beryl Tranter from Cardiff and John Sullivan from Barry spent an hour with Owen where he read some of his favourite pieces of literature and also chatted about life in Wales, evoking memories and laughter from the room as they reminisced about life in Cardiff and Barry.
Tabitha Mansel-Thomas, Senior Specialist Speech & Language Therapist at the SRC for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said; “Patients can spend a long time in hospital after a stroke and as a team we aim to provide stimulation and activities for patients to help with their recovery journey. The partnership we have with InterAct has been amazing as it alleviates boredom but also helps patients with memories and communication skills which is a big part of their road to recovery.
“It was fantastic to have someone of Owen’s calibre here as the patients and staff really appreciated it and enjoyed the afternoon, with lots of laughter and chatting too.”
InterAct Stroke Support works with professional actors because they have the dramatic skills to hold the concentration of somebody who is not only unwell but also in the hospital environment, the vocal stamina and technique to sustain long periods of reading and the antennae to respond to unspoken reactions from the patients.
Nirjay Mahindru, Chief Executive at InterAct Stroke Support said “Reading to patients and bringing stories to life through conversational interaction, can stimulate the brain, boost memory and communication skills, improve mood and alleviate depression. We are delighted that our work is now in Wales and we can help stroke survivors through their recovery. A big thank you to Owen too who has given up some of his very busy time to take part in the project and put a smile on patient’s faces.”
InterAct now has a team of 160 professional actors who read in 18 hospitals cross the UK, as well as 50 stroke clubs and a variety of community projects. To find out more visit www.interactstrokesupport.org