TIA and Minor Stroke

Support and information about transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

People we interviewed had found out about TIAs and minor strokes from a variety of sources including the health professionals who had treated them, the internet, leaflets and booklets, general media and support organisations such as the Stroke Association. Some people found support organisations helpful because they gave opportunities to meet or contact others who had similar experiences. A very few people did not want too much information as they preferred not to dwell on it.

Many of the people we interviewed had not heard of a TIA or minor stroke before it happened to them and so wanted to find out more. They wanted to understand what it meant, what treatments were available, and what they needed to do to prevent anything further from happening (see ‘Understanding TIA/minor stroke’ and ‘Medication, treatment and surgery)

For many people the explanation given by the GP or hospital staff helped them to understand things better, and some were also given leaflets and printed information whilst they were being treated. A few people said they found that the specialist nurses who looked after them had more time to answer questions and provide information than the doctors or consultants in hospital. Most people appreciated the opportunity if it was offered to have some face to face time with someone who could give them an explanation and answer questions.

Several people had taken part in research about TIA and minor stroke, and these people found the research staff were a useful source of support and information, and that they seemed to have more time to give out advice and help than the ward or clinic staff in hospital. A couple of the people we interviewed themselves worked in the field of science and research and so were able to access specialist evidence and information.
John also sought a second opinion from another consultant about his condition and treatment, and contacted colleagues that he knew in the health professions to find out as much as he could.
Quite a few people used the internet to look up information about TIA and stroke. Some people were already familiar with using the internet and so were able to find useful information, but even so, some said it could be difficult to know which sites would provide reliable and accurate information. Useful websites can be found in our resources section.
    There were also some people who weren’t familiar with using the internet who found it confusing or felt they didn’t want any more information than what they had been told by the GP or consultant.
    The internet can also be useful as a way of communicating with other people about their experiences. Some websites have stories about people’s experiences that some people found helpful to read, and it can also be useful as a way of talking to others on forums or through social networking.
    Quite a few people had made contact with Stroke Association, either through subscribing to their monthly magazine, or through their website. Some people made contact with their local stroke coordinator this way. The stroke coordinator helped some people with practical concerns such as giving information about obtaining mobility aids. Some people wanted to meet other people who had similar experiences and attended support groups that were run by the Stroke Association. Not everyone wanted to go to a support group. Some said they would not want to see other people who had had full blown strokes because they would find it too upsetting. Several people felt grateful that they had recovered well after their TIA and had no lasting symptoms, and wanted to be able to help and support others who were not so fortunate.
    As well as thinking about information they themselves needed to understand/manage the condition, people also talked about information for the wider public. Many people had seen the TV advert (FAST campaign) that warns people about spotting the symptoms of a stroke. Some said that it had come to mind when they were experiencing symptoms and that they had found it helpful, but other people said that TIA and minor stroke symptoms were often different from those of a full stroke and they thought that the educational campaign needed to be extended to include symptoms such as disorientation, visual disturbance and hearing problems.

    On the other hand Dennis says it can be difficult to know how much information people can absorb, and that most people tend to take more notice when it directly affects them.

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    Last reviewed June 2017.
    Last updated August 2013


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