More than 150 survivors, caregivers and professional came out for a day of information, education and help.

Journey Conference helps stroke and brain injury survivors and caregivers

The conference goal is to not only inform, but help families in the wake of stroke or brain injury

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If you or a loved one is living with a brain injury or stroke it can be a frustrating time. Many say they feel isolated. A conference to help people from feeling that way was held Friday at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. It’s called The Journey Conference: A conference for Survivors of Brain Injury, Stroke, and Concussion and their Families. The goal, to help families get support, services and information –all in an effort to let them know they’re not alone.

“It feels so overwhelming when patients go through this and when we see them in the hospital they’re not even ready at that point to talk about what the long term picture looks like, but to know that there are resources out there, it helps,” explains Jessica Silcox, former Stroke Team Coordinator, now Team Coordinator for the Emergency Department.

Silcox says Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and organizer of the conference, Brain Injury Services, Inc. started working together several years ago after the organization received a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation to work with Stroke patients. When Brain Injury Services resurrected the Journey Conference, the hospital setting proved the perfect fit.

More than 150 people registered for the daylong event.

“I hope they love coming to the hospital and seeing the services provided here,” says Lisa McCarthy, Director of Programs for Brain Injury Services, “But, I also hope they meet other folks who are in the same situations as them. A lot of time our clients feel really isolated and think nobody else is going through this, we want them to see the huge community of folks who are dealing with the challenges.”

The conference consists of exhibits from different vendors so attendees can see the different types of services available to them. There are also speakers throughout the day, from therapists who offer new strategies to survivor who share their stories about their new reality. 

Both Silcox and McCarthy want people to know, even after the conference ends, there is help available and caregivers aren’t alone. To that end, Sentara has a Stroke Support Group, which meets monthly.

“Know there are resources out there, there are people able to help and actually there’s a lot of grant funding for people who may need it. It’s important that people don’t feel overwhelmed, there are services to help,” says Silcox.

To find a provider near you, call 1-800-SENTARA.
To learn more about the support group:  https://www.sentara.com/woodbridge-virginia/classesevents/support-groups/stroke-recovery-group-northern-virginia.aspx