The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand website provides help and support to those people that have suffered strokes. When I was navigating through the website, I noticed that there are countless sections to provide the person with contact information, resources, information on stroke, campaigns and many more. This website is useful in the sense that it allows anyone to access it and share their stories about their stroke experiences. This is beneficial for someone who wants to talk about their experience and get opinions from others who have been through the same strife. Although it appears to be a useful site, it doesn’t seem as interactive as I expected it to be. It seems like you have to register with them before you are able to comment on anything. Once they have registered and logged in, they will be able to browse the site and comment on other’s stories and share their own. http://www.stroke.org.nz/home
Stroke Net is an online community that allows people that have been affected by strokes to share their stories and read and comment on other’s stories too. You have to register, much like other online communities, in order to post comments, but this is free to do so. This site is very interactive as there are multiple links and services available, including a donation link so you can donate money towards a stroke fund, chat rooms for a variety of ages and special sessions in separate rooms, and a gallery. People are able to contribute by posting their stories or thoughts, and it allows you to comment on other’s postings too. http://www.strokeboard.net/
”A health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.” This is what the eHealth forum provides as it is an online community allowing people to share their thoughts and stories, as well as ask questions which can be answered by doctors. This ensures that you will be receiving accurate information in the answers that are being received. You also have to register for this site, but once this has been completed, there are many topics in which you can post comments under. This site is easy to navigate around and is very interactive. http://ehealthforum.com/health/stroke_symptoms.html
People choose to contribute to these communities because they want answers about what they’re going through or about what someone else is going through. These online communities may be more supportive and accessible compared to what is available to them in every-day life. They could be seeking information or simply just wanting someone to talk to about what experiences have occurred in their life. Information is generally shared both ways, as one person will share their story or ask a question, and someone else will comment on their story – as they may have been through something similar, or be answering their desired questions. These sites relate to the occupational concepts that we have learnt in class recently. One of the concepts that stroke relates to is occupational disruption, which is “temporary or transient, such as having the flu. Second, disruption results from factors or situations over which the individual has some control, such as moving to a new town or changing jobs” (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.304). Strokes cause a disruption in people’s lives as they are forced to stop in their tracks for a while, which sets them back temporarily. Strokes also often tend to cause differences to the body including physical and cognitive differences. This can be quite distressing to the patient and therefore online communities are beneficial in this instance. Stroke patients feel like they’re alone in the situation, but once they find communities such as these, they realise there are a lot more people in the same boat as themselves which gives them a sense of hope and relief.
Another occupational concept that stroke patients go through is occupational transition which is defined as “a major change in the repertoire of a person in which one or several occupations change, disappear, and/or are replaced with others” (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.212). Patients who experience stroke will go through an occupational transition in the sense that it was unexpected and unplanned, and it will most likely influence their daily living in a big way. Strokes affect the body both physically and emotionally, so talking about it over online communities will benefit those people affected largely. If a person experienced a stroke, they would want to know that there is somebody else out there that is going through the same transition, so online communities help these people by making them aware that they are not alone.
Unfortunately, ethical considerations will arise when dealing with sites like these. Many of the online communities require some information when making an account or registering, but there is always the option to keep ones identity anonymous. This can cause the site to be abused by people being inappropriate, as those anonymous people have kept their identity hidden and therefore have a mind-set of ‘who cares, no one knows who I am’. Most sites have control over this now as there are generally options to ‘block’ or ‘report abuse’ (much like Facebook!) to those who are treating the site unfairly.
There are both benefits and limitations to be aware of that these communities provide relating to geographical communities. Online communities prove to be beneficial to a lot of people. Some of these benefits include being able to share personal stories and getting desired questions answered by others who may or may not have gone through the same experience, connecting with different people all over the world, and making your identity anonymous if you don’t want anyone knowing who you really are. There are also limitations to consider which are receiving incorrect information to your questions and becoming too involved with the online communities and therefore becoming isolated in reality.
Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2010). An introduction to occupation: The art andscience of living (2nd ed.). United States of America: Pearson Education Inc.