FINDING yourself unable to speak or communicate properly can be one of the most upsetting results of a stroke.

The medical name for this condition is aphasia and new group has been set up by former Poole Hospital patient Bill Lindsay, who had a stroke in 2011, to help people in this situation.

Bill has been volunteering at the hospital for the past five years and put forward the idea for the group. “I didn’t know what aphasia was when I had my stroke, and it was very scary,” said Bill. “It affects people in different ways, some people can speak a few words, others can’t talk at all. I’m fortunate that I have made good progress, and through the group we hope to be able to support even more people to improve their communication skills too.”

People with Aphasia Communicating Together (PACT) will support current inpatients and those who have been discharged from hospital who find returning home challenging because of communications issues. It will also support families caring for those with the condition.

Faye Wright, support co-ordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Bill have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating.

“But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate, and can rebuild their lives."

She said Bill had gone 'from strength to strength' in his recovery and: "We couldn’t be more proud of everything he has achieved. We’re so thankful for Bill’s determination and passion to help other stroke survivors in the community."

Deborah Broadbent, specialist speech and language therapist in the hospital’s stroke services team, said Bill’s contribution to the service was ‘inspirational.’

“Bill has been keen to find a way to support people with aphasia on this part of their journey, and came up with the idea for PACT, which we think is a really unique idea," she said. "He continues to motivate and support people with his experience and advice."