Young patients recovering from virus-related strokes find support in online community

Lynne Adkins
May 31, 2020 - 5:30 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — COVID-19 has been found to lead to strokes in some young patients — an illness that is devastating at any age. 

But there is a way for young people to get support from others who understand what they’re going through.

MossRehab in Elkins Park has a support group for people under 65 who have suffered strokes, which is now held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Too many young COVID-19 patients have suffered strokes due to blood clots caused by the virus. Recovery may include therapy for walking, driving, speech — all while trying to manage work, family and daily life.

Group members support one another through good and bad times, and also share tips on how to navigate socialization, family, and other aspects of life as a stroke survivor.

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Melissa Meyers, an occupational therapist at MossRehab, said people from all over the city — even as far away as Texas — are participating in the online support group.

“The virtual platform allows more access for this population, while meeting in person can sometimes be limiting for people,” she said. “They are not driving because of their stroke, they don’t have a family member to get them here — logistical things of that nature. So the virtual platform has actually increased access for people, which is great.”

Josh Rivkin, 56, had a stroke in 2014. For many, he said it’s easier to sit at home than travel to a meeting.

“The Zoom meetings are really good for people to have the camaraderie with other people,” he said. “While we’re all certainly affected by what’s going on, I feel as if the people in the group are more isolated than most people are. So it’s been really positive to give them the opportunity to get together and talk with people they are familiar with already.”