During the crisis, community rehab teams are less able to do home visits, so to ensure patients continue to receive high quality support, the UCL Centre for Neurorehabilitation in London plans to deliver all stroke rehab remotely.

The centre, which works alongside the UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), is being supported by funds from the brain injury charity Same You.

The team, led by UCL’s Professor Nick Ward with the support of UCLH, is repurposing a web portal to deliver virtual group sessions for up to 20 people into homes via laptops/tablets and smartphones.

Via the portal, sessions are being timetabled and patients will be invited to take part.

Professor Nick Ward said: “The coronavirus pandemic means people with stroke and brain injuries will be living back at home much earlier than normal: we will have a large population of vulnerable patients in the community, who need support.

“Ordinarily rehabilitation teams would visit patients at home, however due to Covid-19 this cannot happen, so we want to use virtual technologies to ensure good levels of care can still be provided.

“This funding will enable us to pilot a project, which uses existing technologies such as WhatsApp or Zoom, to get essential rehabilitation into people’s homes. We will set up virtual rehabilitation and support groups and to provide both emotional and physical support – helping them adjust to what’s happened.”

Same You, which was founded by Hollywood star Emilia Clarke, has also funded a new six-week virtual rehab programme via Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US.

The PAVING the Path to Wellness: Emergency Response Edition is a free, six-week virtual programme for patients who are recovering from brain injury and stroke and don’t have the funds to pay for this rehabilitation.

With SameYou’s funding, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital will accommodate 150 free places on its programme, each receiving six two-hour group sessions over six weeks period.

The programme is delivered by Dr Beth Frates, a Spaulding/Harvard Medical School lifestyle medicine specialist, wellness coach, and teacher whose father experienced a stroke when she was 18.

Dr Frates’s 12-step plan for wellness is designed to help patients make positive and long-lasting changes to support your successful recovery and optimal lifestyle, now and moving forward.