Have you had a stroke?

We are looking for people who have had a stroke in the last 12 months who would like to volunteer to test a prototype of computer character ( like a virtual assistant that is sometimes seen on websites). The idea is that the computer character will be trained to deliver a program that can help people with their recovery, through talk sessions about what’s important to them.

For now, we’re looking for people to interact with the computer character and tell us what they like and don’t like about it. The testing session will take 90min.

Who can participate in the research?

  • People who have had a stroke Who live in the community

If you’re unsure if you fit these criteria, please contact Dr Heidi Janssen on (02) 4042 0417 or  Heidi.Janssen@health.nsw.gov.au

Why is the research being done?

The Take Charge program was developed in New Zealand. It’s a ‘talking therapy’ that has been shown to help people through their recovery after stroke. It was originally co-designed by Māori and Pacific New Zealanders who live with stroke, health professionals and researchers. Research on this program showed that it helped people to build a sense of purpose, autonomy and independence, feelings of connectedness with others and it improved health-related quality of life.  The talk sessions have always been face-to-face with another person, to date.

In Newcastle, we are building a computer-based version of the program, where people with stroke can talk to an computer character via a computer, at a time and place that suits them. The aim is not to replace face-to-face talk therapy with humans, but rather to give people options like this to make the therapy more widely available.

Why are volunteers needed?

We are looking to get feedback about the prototype of the computer character early, to know what works for people with stroke, what feels good about interacting with it, and what doesn’t work or is not easy.

The next phase of the project will then test whether doing the Take Charge program with the computer character is just as helpful the face-to-face program is.

If I take part, what will I be asked to do?

  • Come to the Hunter Medical Research Institute (we will reserve you a free car park), or
  • We can come to you if you live in the Newcastle, Maitland, Singleton or Tamworth areas.
  • Meet with a researcher who will help you test out a session with the computer character
  • In the session, the computer character will talk with you, it will be like a casual conversation
  • The session will cover topics about what is important to you, what has changed since your stroke and what are your hopes for the future in terms of your stroke recovery
  • This session will take about two 45-minute blocks with break in the middle. Free / reserved parking will be provided.
  • During the session, the researcher will introduce the study, ask some initial questions about how you feel and your stroke condition. With support from the researcher, you will use a computer to interact with the computer character in a casual conversation that will discuss aspects of your life and how you see your future. After interacting with the computer character the researcher will ask you a series of questions about what you found good and what could be done to improve the character and overall experience.

Four weeks later, the researcher will phone you to ask a few questions regarding

  • how you have felt and
  • what you have thought about following your chat with the computer character.

Download detailed participant information statement

Click here to download participant information statement

Register your interest

To find out more or to register your interest please contact Heidi on (02) 4042 0417 or Heidi.Janssen@health.nsw.gov.au

Or Gillian at the Stroke Research Register (02) 4042 0093 or strokeregister@hmri.org.au