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Waitematā DHB Volunteer Stroke Scheme - Regional Service

Public Service, Community, Allied Health


About the Service
Volunteer Stroke Scheme (VSS), is an Auckland-wide service that supports people in using, maintaining and enhancing their communication after a stroke.

The service provides volunteers who are trained as “conversation partners” and who use Total Communication Strategies to give people opportunities to participate in effective communication and social interaction.

This interaction takes place in a one-to-one or conversation group setting. Interactions may be in-person or using video calling, depending on what works best and on any covid-19 restrictions.

People referred remain under the oversight of a speech language therapist for the duration of their time with the Volunteer Stroke Scheme.

You can watch a video of one of our volunteers in action click here.


How a stroke can affect communication
A stroke can affect communication in one or more of the following ways:


-  Weakened muscles make speech sound slurred/ indistinct.


-  Difficulty recalling words or knowing how to say them

-  Using the wrong (or made up) words

-  Misunderstanding the meaning of words - this may come across as difficulty hearing

-  Spontaneously repeating the same words or phrases

-  Difficulty reading; understanding words and/or reading words aloud

-  Difficulty spelling words

-  Difficulty understanding or saying numbers e.g. dates, time, money.

These communication difficulties can result in frustration, embarrassment and a sense of isolation.  Eventually this can lead to withdrawal from social interaction.  Trained volunteers will provide the client with a supportive and positive environment for communication.

Referral Expectations

Referral to the Volunteer Stroke Scheme (VSS)
People must first be assessed and then referred to the VSS by a district health board community speech language therapist in their area.

In order to be assessed by a community speech-language therapist people can refer themselves or with the person’s permission: family/whānau, health professionals such as allied health, GPs, specialists and community advisors such as The Stroke Foundation and Aphasia NZ can refer to the local community speech language therapist. Onward referral to the Volunteer Stroke Scheme will be completed once it is assessed as appropriate.

Entry Criteria for VSS
People eligible to receive services from the VSS are those who have communication difficulties as a result of a stroke.

Any other issues will be considered on a case by case basis.

Clients excluded from VSS services
There are some eligibility exclusions.  Please contact your local community speech language therapist.

Being a Volunteer

  • What our Volunteers do

    One-to-one matches
    A volunteer visits a person in their home once a week for an hour.  The aim is to provide an opportunity to use every day communication and conversation skills.… More

  • Interested in Becoming a Volunteer?

    Please call us - (09) 441 8959 to enquire about being a volunteer!… More

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Contact Details

North Shore, Takapuna

North Auckland

Te Whare Karaka
Auckland 0622

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Street Address

Te Whare Karaka
Auckland 0622

This page was last updated at 11:26AM on December 21, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Waitematā DHB Volunteer Stroke Scheme - Regional Service.