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Access to Work scheme
When planning to return to or start work, find out whether you qualify for an Access to Work grant. This provides practical support to help overcome work-related obstacles caused by a disability that is likely to last 12 months or longer. It is open to employed, unemployed and self-employed disabled people. The grant is for the extra services, adaptations or equipment you need in the workplace – or at home if that’s where you work from – because of your disability.

ACE inhibitors
ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, are a group of drugs that are used primarily in treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
A brain injury not present at birth. A ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’ or ‘Head Injury’ is caused by an external force such as an accident. A ‘Non-Traumatic Brain Injury’ or ‘Atraumatic Brain Injury’ are often caused by Strokes, tumours, infections or exposure to toxic substances.

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is a government body dealing with employment issues. Its purpose is to improve organisations and working life through advice, arbitration or mediation (e.g. resolving disputes between groups of employees or workers and their employers. Acas is an independent and impartial organisation that does not side with a particular party, but rather will help the parties to reach suitable resolutions in a dispute.

Inability to recognise an object by touch alone.

Difficulty in writing or drawing.

Allied Health Professional
The term for a health professional apart from nurse or doctor e.g. Phsyiotherapist.

Able to walk.

Loss of memory.

A balloon like swelling that results from a weakness in the wall of one of the blood vessels suuplying blood to the brain. There is a risk that the aneurysm will rupture (burst suddenly) and cause a haemorrhage (bleed). Balloon-like swelling in the wall of a blood vessel, causing weakness of the wall which can lead to sudden rupture.

This is an X-ray test used to produce ictures of blood vessels. A cerebral angiogram will show blood vessels in your head and neck and is a key test for Subarachnoid Heamorrhages (SAH). After a local anaesthetic, a very small flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into the blood vessel in your groin (femoral artery). This is passed through other blood vessels in your body until it reaches your neck. You will not feel it moving inside you. An image or picture of the blood vessels obtained by the injection of dye.

Procedure to stretch narrowed arteries to improve the blood flow.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitor
Medication given to reduce the workload of the heart.

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)
This is a plastic splint worn in the shoe which is used as a solution to Drop Foot. These fix the foot at a suitable angle so that the toes can clear the ground.

Medication used to thin the blood such as aspirin, heparin or warfarin.

Antiepileptic drugs
Medication used to treat epilepsy.

Medication which prevents the blood clotting e.g. Aspirin.

An unpleasant state of mental uneasiness or concern about some uncertain event.

Inability to swallow.

People with aphasia find it hard to speak, read, write or understand language. Inability to speak or understand language.

Difficulty in coordinating movements or speaking. Inability to perform correct muscular movements leading to uncoordinated or jerky movements.

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
An abnormal arrangement of blood vessels in the head. A small number of Subarachnoid Haemorrhages (SAH) are caused by this condition.

Blood vessels which carries blood away from the heart and around the body.

Narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels.

A blood thinning medication used to prevent Stroke due to Embolism.

Loss of control of muscle function.

Build up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels which restricts blood flow.

‘Furring up’ or narrowing of the arteries, often caused by high blood pressure which puts extra strain on the blood vessels.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
This is an abnornal heart rhythm. It can significantly increase the risk of Stroke and is responsible for around 1 in 7 Strokes in the UK. Symptoms include palpitations, dizzyness or feeling faint, breathlessness and fatigue. If you think you may suffer from this, you should make an appointment with your GP.

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Small hole in the top part of the heart.


Benefit Check
These involve checking to make sure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to and at the correct rates. You should definitely get your benefits checked at least once a year, as changes in the rules and annual increases in amounts may mean your entitlement has changed. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau provides comprehensive information on your rights. You should be able to find details of other local welfare rights organisations who are able to perform this service for you at your local library or town hall.

Benefits Enquiry Line
Should be able to supply most claim forms and answer general enquiries about benefits. The Benefits Enquiry Line can also help you to complete claim forms over the telephone on 0800 88 22 00.

A condition which has no serious effects.

Beta Blockers
Medication given to control the heart rate and rhythm.

Better-Off Calculation
If you are concerned about a possible fall in your income when you start work, contact a DEA or an independent advice agency / local welfare rights organisation. Ask them to arrange a ‘better off calculation’ . This will gauge whether your financial situation will improve or worsen if you give up the benefits you are currently entitled to in order to work.

Binge Drinking
The consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

Blood Pressure
A measurement of the pressure at which blood is being pumped around the body by the heart.

Blue Badge Scheme
If you have problems with walking or other mobility problems you may be able to get a blue badge to enable you to park your car near shops and other places you wish to visit. Details are available at

Body Mass Index
A number which judges whether you are the correct weight for your height.

Botox or Botulinum Toxin (BT)
This is a treatment often used to treat spasticity.

When the heart rate is slow (less than 60 beats per minute).

Brain and Spine Foundation
Medical charity who help people who have a brain or spine condition including Stroke, head injury, MS, tumours and epilepsy. Helpline – 0808 808 1000.

Brain Attack
New term for a Stroke.

Brain Scan
A test carried out in hospital to determine what kind of Stroke you have had.

Base of the brain which controls the basic functions of life.

Noise made by a blockage in a Carotid Artery when examined with a stethoscope.

Budgeting Loan
The Budgeting Loan is interest-free (from £100 up to £1,500 in total), repayable. It is intended to meet certain intermittent expenses for which it may be difficult to budget. You or your partner must be in receipt of Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) on the day of the decision and have been in receipt or have been the partner of someone in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance for at least 26 weeks.


Tiny vessels which branch off from veins and arteries to deliver blood to all areas of the body.

A prefix for medical terms to do with Cancer.

Cardiac Arrest
Emergency where the heart stops beating.

A prefix for medical terms to do with the heart.

A doctor who specialises in heart conditions.

Disease of the heart muscle which can impair it’s movement.

Cardiovascular Disease
Disease affecting the heart and blood flow.

Cardiovascular System
Describes the heart and all of the blood vessels in the body.

Someone who looks after another, either as a job or often through family responsibilities.

Carers Allowance (CA)
This is help for people aged 16 or over who are caring for someone who gets the DLA care component at the middle or higher rate. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You must spend at least 35 hours a week providing care and your net earnings from any work, after deductions and allowable expenses, must not be more than £100 a week.

Carers Direct
An online information service which aims to provide a single and comprehensive online resource to help carers manage their lives around caring. It can be found at: The website includes guidance on the different stages of caring, information for claiming benefits, contact details for local authorities, as well as contact details for specialist, national and local sources of support. There is also a free helpline on 0808 802 0202 between 8am to 9pm from Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm at weekends. The helpline is staffed by advisers who can provide information on assessments, benefits, direct payments, individual budgets, time off, and combining work or education with caring.

Carotid Arteries
Blood vessels located in the neck which supply blood to the brain.

Carotid Doppler (CD)
Ultrasound of the arteries in the neck to check for blockages.

Carotid Endarterectomy
Surgery to clear a partial blockage in the carotid artery.

A charity which aims to help improve the lives of children under 16 with brain related conditions. Telephone – 0800 3281159.

Cerebal Atrophy supply
Wasting or degeneration of brain cells.

Cerebral Haemhorrhage
Medical term for a bleed in the brain.

Cerebal Oedema
Swelling of the brain.

A prefix for medical terms to do with the brain.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
The clear watery fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
Outdated medical term for a Stroke.

Child Tax Credit (CTC)
This benefit is available for people who are responsible for one or more children. It is paid in addition to Child Benefit and any WTC you may be eligible for. There is no limit on the amount of capital you can have, but income – such as savings interest – will affect the amount of CTC you receive. You can claim whether you are working or not. The amount you receive will depend on your income, but if you earn too much you will not be eligible.

This is a fatty substance which is found in the blood. It plays an essential role in the body, but too much of it can increase your risk of health problems, including Stroke.

Christmas Bonus
In most cases, you will automatically receive a bonus of £10.00 during the week beginning with the first Monday of December if you are presently or ordinarily resident in Great Britain or any other EEA country, and entitled to payment during that week of one of the following benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Long-term Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance. Many pensions and some other benefits are also included.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
A Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is one of a network of independent charities throughout the UK that give free, confidential information and advice to help people with benefits, employment, money management, family, health, legal issues and civil rights.

Clinical Nurse Specialist
A nurse who has undertaken special training to become and expert in one area of healthcare.

Clinical Support Worker
Also known as Auxiliary Nurse and assists registered nurses with patient care.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
This therapy looks for ways to imporve your current state of mind through focus on ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties.

The part of mental functions that deals with logic, as opposed to affective which deals with emotions. Processes of remembering, perceiving, judgement, understanding attitudes and awareness.

A way of treating ruptured and unruptured aneurysms without the need for a craniotomy. Small metal coils are inserted into the aneurysm through the arteries that run from the groin to the brain. They prevent blood flowing into the aneurym and therefore reduce the risk for a bleed. Blood then clots around the coil sealing off the weakened area.

Community Care Grant (The Social Fund)
A Community Care Grant does not have to be paid back. The minimum amount that can be awarded is £30 but there is no maximum amount. To be eligible you must be getting Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income based jobseeker?s allowance, pension credit, or payment on account of one of these, or are likely to get one of these benefits or entitlements when you move out of residential or institutional accommodation.

Community Legal Services
Provide 30 minutes free advice from a welfare benefits specialist.

Community Psychiatric Nurse
A nurse who looks after people with mental health problems in the community.

Consent Form
Documented permission from a patient for treatment.

Where joints that are not used in quick motions often become fixed and can only be released by surgery. This happens even more quickly in a person with spastic muscles.

Medical term to do with the heart.

Coronary Artery
Blood vessel which supplies blood to the tissues of the heart.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts
Surgical treatment for severe Coronary Artery Disease.

Coronary Care Unit
Ward of a hospital where you would be taken with an emergency heart problem.

Coronary Heart Disease/Coronary Artery Disease
Narrowing of the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart.

Council Tax Benefit
Helps with paying your Council Tax.

A prefix for medical terms to do with the skull.

An operation which opens the head in order to expose the brain. This surgery is usually needed on patients who have a subarachnoid haemhorrhage (SAH), a brain tumour or a serious head injury.

Crisis Loan (the Social Fund)
Crisis Loans are non-contributory, non-taxable, discretionary, repayable and interest-free loans for people aged 16 or over without sufficient resources to meet an immediate short term need. The person does not need to be in receipt of a benefit but some people and expenses are excluded. The loan is for expenses in an emergency or as a consequence of a disaster and the loan must be the only means of preventing serious damage to the health or safety of the applicant or family member.

Cryptogenic Stroke
A Stroke where the cause cannot be identified.

CT (Computerised Tomography) Scan or CAT (Computerised Actualisation Tomography) Scan
This is a special type of X-ray which takes pictures of the brain from different angles. You will lie down while a scanner rotates around your head. It is quick and painless, and will show the location of any haemorrhage and any problems it might be causing.

CTA (Computerised Tomography Angiography) Scan
This is a special type of CT Scan where dye will be injected into the back of your hand or the crook of your elbow which helps to highlight the blood vessels in your brain, before a CT scan is performed.


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
A blood clot in a leg vessel.

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
The government body which deals with employment, pensions and the Disability and Carers service. Information can be found at

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, or problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.

An anti inflammatory steroid used to reduce cerebal oedema following a stroke.

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes—is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

The medical term describing the presence of an illness.

Paralysis in corresponding limbs.

The medical term for double vision.

Direct Payments
The Direct Payments scheme is a UK Government initiative in the field of Social Services that gives users money directly to pay for their own care, rather than the traditional route of a Local Government Authority providing care for them.

Features large amounts of benefits information. Staff on the enquiry line can answer general questions about benefits for disabled people and send out date-stamped claim forms for most benefits. There is a service (usually by phone) to help with completing forms – do be aware that the operator may have no personal knowledge of Stroke. Website:, Benefits Enquiry Line: 0800 882 200.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has, or had, “a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect” on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Long term” means that it must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months. Many Stroke survivors will be covered under the Act.

Disability Discrimination Act
Under the Disability Discrimination Act it is unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled employee or applicant less favourably because of their disability, without justification.

Disability Employment Advisor
A specialist advisor at Jobcentre Plus to advise on rehabilitation, training and work experience courses.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
This benefit is aimed at adults and children who need help looking after themselves and/or who have difficulty walking or getting around. It has two components: care and mobility. Some people get only one benefit, some qualify for both. You don?t actually have to have someone caring for you – it?s the underlying need that is taken into consideration and its up to you how you spend the money.

Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
The DRC has now been replaced by a new Equality and Human Rights Commission with powers across all equality law (race, sex, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation and age).

Disability Symbol (Two Ticks)
The Employment Services’ disability symbol is a very visible way for employers to show that they are taking positive steps to employ disabled people.

Disabled Facilities Grant
This is financial assistance for disabled people who need to adapt their home in order to continue living there. This is means tested and you may have to contribute towards the cost of the adaptations needed. Social Services will be able to advise on this.

Disabled Student Allowance
Allowances for disabled students to help cover personal help and equipment.

District Nurse
A nurse who looks after patients in the community.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
Decision not to actively treat a life-threatening illness.

Drop Foot (or Foot Drop)
Many Stroke survivors find that they catch the toes of their affected leg as they swing it forwards. This is often because they are unable to lift the foot up at the ankle. The technical term for this is drop foot (or foot drop). It is caused by weakness from the Stroke of the muscles at the front of the shin. Tightness or spasticity in the calf muscles can add to the difficulty of lifting the foot.

Difficulty in communicating due to weakness of the muscles used in speaking.

Difficulty in reading.

Difficulty in swallowing.

Difficulty in using and understanding language.

Difficulty in speaking at the desired volume.

Difficulty in coordinating movements or speaking.

Muscle tone changes randomly and without obvious reason leading to irregular, abnormal movements.


Echocardiogram (ECHO)
An ultrasound scan which looks at the structure of the heart. It is performed to check whether a clot travelling from the heart to the brain has caused a Stroke. It is a painless test and is usually done by placing a small probe/instrument on the chest.

EEG (electroencephalogram)
This is a test used mainly if you have suffered seizures (common in epilepsy and brain tumours). Wires are attached to the head for 20 – 30 minutes and a recording is made of the electrical activity in the brain.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)
A tracing on paper of the electrical activity of the heart rate and rhythm.

Embolic Stroke
Stroke caused by an embolus/embolism.

A clot that has formed elsewhere in the body i.e. the heart or cartoid artery.

Emotional Lability
After a Stroke, some people notice a change in their emotions and how they control them. You may find that you start crying (or more rarely, laughing) very easily.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
ESA has replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid because of an illness or disability. One of the government?s main aims of this new benefit is to help you to be better off in work than on benefit.

This is abnormal electrical activity in the brain which can cause seizures (fits). Some Stroke survivors may develop epilepsy.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain which was established by the Equality Act 2006 and came into being on 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales. It took over the responsibilities of three former commissions: the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission (which dealt with gender equality) and the Disability Rights Commission. It also has responsibility for other aspects of equality: age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.

Excessive Dysphasia
Difficulty in using the spoken word.


Fabry Disease
A genetically inherited disease, which can impact multiple organs, including the cardiac, renal and cerebrovascular system. 2.4% of young women and 4.2% of young men (under 55 years) who have had a cryptogenic Stroke may have underlying Fabry Disease.

A public awareness campaign to highlight the signs of Stroke and the need to act fast. Fast stands for ‘Face’, ‘Arms’, ‘Speech’ and ‘Time to call 999’.

A feeling of being very tired. This is very common after a Stroke.

Functional Electrical Simulation (FES)
In the USA in the 1960s, researchers found that it was possible to stimulate the nerves supplying the foot lifting muscles using tiny electrical currents. This was termed Functional Electrical Simulation (FES). Not only does FES reduce trips and falls, it can also make walking faster and less effortful. Over time the muscles can even relearn how to lift the foot without the stimulator.


General Practitioner (GP)
Your local doctor who usually works in a practice within your community.


A prefix for medical terms to do with the blood.

The escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.

Haemorrhagic Strokes
Stroke caused by bleeding form a blood vessel in the brain. These occur when an artery in or on the surface of the brain bursts and starts bleeding. This kills or damages brain cells in that region. Around 20% of Strokes are haemorrhagic Strokes.

Health Benefits
It is possible to get full or partial help with NHS charges for prescriptions and dental charges, fares to hospital and vouchers for glasses. Leaflets about these benefits HC11 and HC13 are from your local Department of Work and Pensions Office or can be downloaded from the Department of Health website:

A blood clot.

Heart Attack
Damage to the heart caused by a clot in the coronary arteries, requiring emergency treatment in hospital.

Heart Disease
Heart disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of different diseases affecting the heart.

Heart Failure
Condition when the heart muscle is weakened and less efficient at pumping blood around the body.

Blindness in half of the visual field affecting both eyes.

Weakness or partial paralysis on one side of the body.

Weakness in one side of the body. Physical effects vary enormously from person-to-person.

Medical term for the right or left side of the brain.

A prescribed blood thinning medication used to prevent Stroke due to Embolism.

Housing Benefit
Helps you pay your rent.

Hughes Syndrome or Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS)
This is a condition in which the blood has an increased tendency to clot in the vein or artery. This can cause mild symptoms such as dizzyness, balance problems and recurrent headaches, but can also cause more severe conditions such as migraines, seizures, TIA’s and Strokes. For more information contact the Hughes Syndrome Foundation on 0207 188 8217 or go to the website at

Raised pressure within the skull.

High blood pressure.

Increased muscle tone.

Low blood pressure.

Decreased muscle tone.


Income Support
Provides a basic income for people with no other source of income or to top-up inadequate incomes.

Loss of bladder or bowel control.

Independent Living Fund
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) can give cash to help pay for personal and domestic care that enables severely disabled people to live at home. The applicant must be receiving the Care component of the Disability Living Allowance at the highest rate. Live alone or with people who cannot fully meet the applicant?s care needs. Be at risk of entering Residential Care.

Area of tissue damaged by a lack of blood and oxygen.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU)
The area of the hospital where seriously ill people are treated.

Intracerebral Haemorrhage (ICH)

Intracerebral hemorrhage occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak inside the brain. (The name means within the cerebrum, or brain).

A lack of blood flow to the tissues in the body.

Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)
Narrowing of the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart.

Ischaemic Strokes
These occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked. This starves that area of oxygen, killing or damaging the brain cells there. Arteries supplying the brain with blood can be blocked by blood clots, fat globules or air bubbles in the blood stream. About 80% of Strokes are ischaemic Strokes.


Job Introduction Scheme (JIS)
The Job Introduction Scheme (JIS) can help if you are looking for work, or are about to start a job and have a disability that may affect the kind of work you will do. If you have practical concerns about your disability that make you hesitant to accept a job, JIS can help by paying a weekly grant to your employer for the first few weeks that you are employed in the job to help towards your wages or other employment costs, e.g. additional training.

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
If you do not qualify for Employment and Support Allowance, you may be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) if you?re out of work or working less than 16 hours on average. To qualify: you must be capable of work and either unemployed and actively looking for work, or working fewer than 16 hours a week and actively looking for full-timed work.


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Lacunar Syndrome (LACS)
Medical classification for a small Stroke.

Limited capability for work assessment (LCWA)
This is a points based test, similar to the medical test for Incapacity Benefit. You get points for having problems with different physical and mental health activities, such as walking, sitting, remembering and dealing with other people. If you score 15 points or more you pass the test and qualify for ESA.

Limited capability for work-related assessment (LCWRA)
You can only take this test after you have passes the first test (LCWA). There are no points involved. Instead there are a series of 46 “descriptors”. If any single one of them applies to you, you will have passed. So, for example, if you are unable to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket you?ll have passed the test. Or, if you misinterpret what people say to the extent of causing distress to yourself on a daily basis, you?ll pass this test. If you pass this test you?ll move to the support group of the main phase. It is expected that only 10 to 20% of all successful ESA applicants will enter this group.

Local Education Authority (LEA)
This is the authority who can carry out an assessment of educational needs in children. This assessment may lead to a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Locked-in syndrome
Locked-in syndrome is a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes. Total locked-in syndrome is a version of locked-in syndrome where the eyes are paralyzed as well.

Lumbar Puncture
A sample of cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) is taken by passing a needle between two vertabrae in the lower spine. If the fluid contains blood, it is likely that there is bleeding in the brain.


A migraine is an intense headache accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea (feeling sick), visual problems and increased sensitivity to light or sound. They commonly last for a few hours, but can last up to three days.

Mirror Box Therapy
A box which trickes the brain into thinking that the injured limb is working in the same way as the good limb. Many survivors have used this to great effect in their rehabilitation. More information can be found at .

Weakness in one limb.

Motability is a United Kingdom scheme which enables disabled people to obtain a car, powered wheelchair or scooter by using their Government-funded mobility allowances. More information can be found at or by contacting 0845 456 4566 (8.30am till 5.30pm Monday to Friday)

MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography) Scan
This is a special type of MRI Scan which produces images of the blood vessels. It is quicker and less invasive than an angiogram and has a low risk of problems and complications. Dye will be injected into the back of your hand or the crook of your elbow which helps to highlight the blood vessels in the brain.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan
This scan produces pictures of the head and brain using strong magnetic fields and radio waves. During the test you will lie in a long tube. The scan is painless, but the scanner can be very noisy. The scan will show the blood vessels, the heamorrhage, and occasionally an aneurysm.

Multi-Infarct Dementia
Long term confusion caused by a series of small Strokes.

Muscle Tone
The muscle’s readiness to contract, or the degree of resistance to move in a limb or group of muscles. Muscle tone can be normal, increased (Hypertonic) and decreased (Hypotonic).

A prefix for medical terms to do with the muscles.

Myocardial Infarction
Medical term for a heart attack.


Naso-gastric Tubing
Fine tube passed into the nose to the back of the throat and into the stomach for the purpose of feeding when oral feeding is not advisable.

A prefix for medical terms to do with the nervous system.

A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of brain and spine conditions. This doctor will not perform any surgery – this is carried out by the Neurosurgeon.

A psychologist who specialises in the funcations of the brain particularly memory, concentration and problem solving.

A specialist doctor who perfoms brain and spine operations.

New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP)
The NDDP assists those receiving disability benefits to return to work.

Next of Kin
The family member/friend who is the first point of contact for a patient.

This is a drug used to reduce the risk of Stroke related to spasm of the blood vessels. It is used for three weeks after a haemorrhage.

Unable to walk.

Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infaction
A ‘smaller’ heart attack.

Not For Resuscitation (NFR)
Decision not to actively treat a life-threatening illness.

Involuntary jerking of the eyes.


Occupational Therapist (OT)
A therapist who can help you learn to manage daily activities such as dressing, shopping or cooking. He or she can also give you advice and treatment designed to help you get back to work.

Odstock Drop Foot Stimulator (ODFS)
The ODFS uses a small footswitch placed discreetly in the heel of the user’s shoe. When the weight comes off the heel, the switch triggers the stimulator which then conveys the electrical current via sticky electrode pads to the muscle and the nerve supplying it. The muscle is then activated and the foot lifts up at the ankle.

Out Patient Department
The area of a hospital where people come from home to be seen in clinics.


The ODFS has been further refined and is now called the PACE. It still relies on wires: one from the foot switch to the stimulator and one from stimulator to the electrode pads. Users have to position the pads for themselves.

A small electrical device implanted surgically to correct an abnormal heart rhythm.

Short bursts of a fast heart rhythm.

Complete loss of movement in a part of the body.

Paralysis in the lower half of the body. This is more likely to have resulted from damage to the spinal cord than from a brain injury.

Parkinson’s Disease
A degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer’s motor skills, speech, and other functions.

Partial Anterior Circulation Syndrome (PACS)
Medical classification for a Stroke in the front of the brain.

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
Hole situated between the right and left sides of the heart.

PEG Tube
Fine tube inserted into the stomach through a small incision in the abdomen when support feeding is required for a longer term.

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
Tube inserted into the wall of the stomach to feed a Dysphagic patient.

Permitted Work
This has replaced “Therapeutic Work” as a way for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support as incapable of work, or Severe Disablement Allowance, to do a small amount of work without being found capable of work. The rules allow people to work for fewer than 16 hours and earn up to £20 a week for an unlimited period. Alternatively, you can do Supported Permitted Work and earn up to £97.50 a week for as long as you are receiving Employment and Support Allowance, provided you continue to satisfy the Supported Permitted Work criteria. Supported Permitted Work means work that is supervised by someone who is employed by a public or local authority or a voluntary organisation, and whose job it is to arrange work for disabled people. This could be work done in the community or in a sheltered workshop. It also includes work as part of a hospital treatment programme.

A prefix for medical terms to do with the veins.

Treatment to improve physical ability such as mobility, posture, balance, co-ordination and muscle strength.

Positive Emission Tomography (PET)
A detailed scan of the brain.

Posterior Circulation Syndrome
Medical classification for a Stroke in the back of the brain.

Practice Nurse
A nurse who usually works in a practice within your community.

Primary Care
Healthcare which is provided in the community.

Expected outcome for a patient.

Pulmonary Embolus
Blood clot restricting blood flow to the lungs.


Paralysis or weakness in all four limbs.


A prefix for medical terms to do with scans and X-rays.

A doctor who specialises in the performance, reports and reading of scans (e.g. CT and MRI Scans and X-Rays).

Reasonable Adjustments
The DDA requires employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled employees. ‘Reasonable’ could mean an employer spending as much on an adjustment for a disabled person in work – including any retraining – as might be spent on recruiting and retraining a replacement.

Receptive dysphasia
Difficulty in understanding the spoken word.

Registered Children’s Nurse
Someone who has completed their nursing training and is qualified to look after children.

Registered Mental Nurse
Someone who has completed their nursing training and is a specialist in looking after patients with mental health problems.

Registered Nurse
Someone who has completed their nursing training and is qualified to look after adult patients. Formerly known as an RGN (Registered General Nurse).

The process of recovering bodily and mental functions with help from nurses and therapists. This is about learning how to manage and cope with your symptoms. The aim is to become as independent as possible. This can include doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers.

Respite care
Services which are designed to provide a break for carers by providing care in the home for the Stroke survivor from a trained care assistant or volunteer for a few hours a week. It may also involve providing care outside of the home on an occasional basis for the Stroke survivors for a few days to a couple of weeks in a residential or nursing home.


The SaeboFlex allows individuals suffering from neurological impairments such as Stroke the ability to incorporate their hand functionally in therapy and at home by supporting the weakened wrist, hand, and fingers. The SaeboFlex is a custom fabricated orthosis that is non-electrically based and is purely mechanical.

A less rigid version of the AFO which provides support down the front of the leg and on the top of the foot. This is designed to assist the lifting of the foot during th e swing phase of walking to stop the patient from tripping. It helps to alleviate Drop Foot. Telephone – 01425 481742.

Saturated fats
Butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil/cream and ghee are all rich sources of saturated fat.

Secondary Care
Healthcare which is provided in a hospital.

Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
To receive SDA, you had to be aged between 16 and 65, unable to work for at least 28 weeks and unable to get Incapacity Benefit. If you were getting SDA in April 2001 you will normally continue to receive it. Since April 2001 it has not been possible to make a new claim for SDA.

Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)
A sleep disorder which some Stroke survivors can develop caused by abnormal breathing patterns. The most common of these is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) where breathing can stop for a few seconds or more whilst sleeping. You should speak to your GP if you think you may be suffering from this.

Social Fund
The Social Fund helps people with expenses that are difficult to pay for out of regular income. Help is available in the form of grants or interest free loans. Getting help from the Social Fund does not depend on your National Insurance contributions. Loans & Community Care Grants from the Social Fund are discretionary and not for a standard amount. Savings of £500 or more (£1000 for those aged 60 or over), may affect how much you get.

Social Services
Services provided by the government to improve the lives of those who need assistance, such as the poor, elderly, disabled, and children. This might include health care, insurance, subsidized housing, and food.

Increased muscle tone (a sudden stiffness). For example, when you try to bend the arm or leg, there is an increased resistance to movement, which eventually ‘gives’.

A charity who support and provide information for people living with aphasia and their carers. Contact on 0808 808 9572 or visit the website

Special Educational Needs (SEN)
This means that your child, by law, must be given all the help necessary for his/her schooling.

Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)
Therapy to assist with the ability to find, understand and articulate words. It also identifies and assists with problems with feeding and swallowing.

Spinal Stroke
This is a disruption in the blood supply to the spinal cord causing tissue damage and can block messages (nerve impulses) travelling along the spinal cord. They are rare, and account for 1.25% of all Strokes.

SSRI (Selective Seratonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors)
These are medications that are prescribed as anti-depressants.

ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction
A serious heart attack.

Medication used to reduce cholesterol.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
This provides help for employed people when they fall ill. It should be paid automatically by your employer at a flat rate for 28 weeks in any period of sickness. You do not need to have paid national insurance contributions but you do need to be earning at least £107.00 per week.

Stem Cell Therapy
This involves delivering cells to an affected organ in the hope that the stem cells will replace the diseased cells in that organ. Trials for Stem Cell Therapy are in their very early stages but it is thought that this therapy is unlikely to benefit current Strokes survivors.

Strokes happen when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. This damages or destroys parts of the brain.

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH)
This is a sudden leak of blood over the surface of the brain which are often caused by an aneurysm.

Partial dislocation of a joint.

A collection sof signs and symptoms which are known to occur at once.


When the heart rate is fast (more than 100 beats per minute).

Part of the brain which deals with sensations.

The ARNI Trust
Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury is an exciting development in the field of Stroke rehabilitation. This is a method of exercise and rehabilitation for Stroke survivors designed to take over where physiotherapy leaves off. Telephone – 07712 211378.

Thiazide Diuretics
Thiazide diuretics are a common treatment for high blood pressure. It is a medicine which increases the amount of water that you pass out from your kidneys. (A diuretic causes a ‘diuresis’ – an increase in urine.) So, they are sometimes called ‘water tablets’.

A trial ‘clot-busting’ drug, which when used in the very early stages of a Stroke, can alleviate many symptoms of Stroke.

Blockage in a blood vessel due to a clot.

Thrombotic Stroke
Stroke caused by a clot forming in an artery supplying blood to the brain.

Total Anterior Circulatory Syndrome (TACS)
Medical classification for a large Stroke at the front of the brain.

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
This is a Stroke-like event sometimes known as a mini-Stroke. In a TIA, an artery supplying the brain is blocked briefly, but the blood supply is restored before the brain is permanently damaged. This causes Stroke-like symptoms, but they only last a short time – 24 hours or less. TIAs are a warning sign that you’re at risk of having a Stroke, and you need to make changes to your lifestyle.

Regular, repetitive movements which may be worse either at rest or on attempted movement.


Unsaturated Fats (polyunsaturates and monounsaturates)
Olive, rapeseed, sunflower or corn oils or spreads.


Blood vessel which carries blood back to the heart from the body.

Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)
Life threatening irregular heart rhythm.

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
Small hole in the bottom part of the heart.

Ventricular Tachycardia
Irregular heart rhythm.

A specific type of dizziness. This is the medical term for the form of dizziness that involves a person having a strong sense that they, or their surroundings are moving when they are standing still.

The combined term for veins, arteries and capillaries.

Vestibular organs
The ‘balance’ organs in the inner ear.


A prescribed blood thinning medication used to prevent Stroke due to Embolism.

Welfare Rights Worker
A worker who can help you to claim benefits to which you are entitled. You can usually find numbers for advice agencies in your local Yellow Pages in one or more of the following sections: disability information and services; information services; social services and welfare organizations; counselling and advice.

‘Welfare to work’: the 104-week linking rule
To qualify for ‘welfare to work’ you have to have been receiving a benefit for 196 days on the basis of being incapable of work. You have to start employment, self-employment or training within a month of the last day you are paid the benefit. You are then automatically covered by the Welfare to Work linking rules. If you then become incapable of work again within the 104-week welfare to work period you can go back on to your former benefits. The main benefits this protection applies to are incapacity benefit, the disability premium with your income support / housing benefit / council tax benefit, and to mortgage interest paid with income support.

Work Based Learning for Adults
To take part in this scheme, you normally need to have been unemployed for at least 26 weeks, although this may be waived if you are disabled. Work based learning combines work experience with training, some of which may lead to a qualification. Whilst participating in the scheme you get your benefits, plus an extra £10 per week.

Work Focused Interviews
People receiving incapacity or disability benefits in many parts of the country, especially where JobCentre Plus Offices have opened may be summoned to attend a compulsory work-focused interview. This should provide an opportunity to assess your paid and voluntary employment prospects and either identify suitable job vacancies for you or look at ways of improving your prospects through training, education or referral to a specialist such as a DEA or New Deal for the Disabled Job Broker.

Work Preparation
This is a programme to help you prepare for work and overcome any barriers to working associated with your impairment. The programme can include help with confidence, stamina, new skills and work experience. It can last anything from a few days up to 8 weeks and generally your benefits are not affected.

Working Tax Credit (WTC)
This is a means tested benefit available to help top-up low wages. You may qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC) if your health condition means you are at a disadvantage in getting a job. This could be, for example, because you cannot work a 40 hour week. To claim via the disability route, you will need to have been getting certain benefits, such as Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Statutory Sick Pay, or be currently getting benefits such as Disability Living Allowance. There is no limit on the amount of capital you can have, but income – such as savings interest – will affect the amount of WTC you receive. To apply, you must be working at least 16 hours a week.


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