Stroke Facts Des Moines

Stroke Club

The Stroke Club at UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has a rich history. In 1984, the wife of a stroke survivor asked Paulette Wood, speech/language pathologist at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, if there was a support group for stroke survivors and caregivers in Des Moines. At the time, such a group did not exist, but with Paulette's dedication and the Easter Seals' support, Stroke Club begun.  Currently, Kathy Brakke, occupational therapy assistant, Iowa Methodist Inpatient Rehab, is the hostess at the meetings, and several other professional "helpers" from the community assist with the various duties.

Today, the UnityPoint Health Foundation actively supports Stroke Club. The group strives to be a community-based program with much involvement from Mercy Medical Center, On With Life, the VA and other organizations.

Stroke Club Details

The purpose of Stroke Club is to provide education and support to stroke survivors, their families and friends. The group meets the third Tuesday of each month from February through October (no meetings during the months of November, December and January, due to the holidays and weather), starting at 7 p.m. and generally lasting for an hour to an hour and a half. Monthly attendance varies but is usually around 40-50 people, and there are no membership dues. Stroke Club aims to:

  • Empowers survivors to become independent and re-enter the community.
  • Encourages families to practice what they have learned in rehabilitation.
  • Provides a communication link between professionals and patients.
  • Helps professionals better understand the needs of survivors.
  • Offers stroke families crucial peer support.
  • Helps survivors make lifestyle changes that reduce their risk of recurrent strokes.

Each month, we have a speaker or activity. We also have a time to share joys or concerns and socialize with others. At end of each meeting, we have door prizes that are donated by many of the volunteers who help at the meeting as well as from members attending.

We are able to provide transportation to meetings! Many of our volunteers are willing to bring members to the meetings. Call Amy Johnson, physical therapist at UnityPoint Health - Physical Therapy - East Des Moines, at 515-263-5166 to arrange a ride. Please call no later than 9 a.m. the day before the meeting and preferably the Friday before the meeting.

Stroke Club Newsletter

Sue Toale Knapp, occupational therapist at Physical Therapy - Iowa Methodist, collects material for our newsletter, has it assembled, printed and mailed at no charge to the members. You may be added to the mailing list by contacting Sue at 515-241-8139. We can now provide members the newsletter via email with a PDF file, if they would prefer this over a hard copy of the newsletter.

Please enjoy the latest copies the Stroke Club Newsletter!