Stroke survivors are feeling ‘abandoned’ after treatment

SEAS Ambulance stock SUS-151106-095339001
SEAS Ambulance stock SUS-151106-095339001

Half of stroke survivors in the South East feel abandoned when they leave hospital, according to new figures published by the Stroke Association on May 17.

The charity surveyed over 1,100 stroke survivors about their experience of stroke care and support.

The findings also reveal that Well over a third (37%) of stroke survivors in the South East reported that they left hospital without a care plan, returning home without appropriate support in place for their recovery, while Almost half (48%) said they were not contacted by a healthcare professional when they returned home from hospital.

Two fifths (42%) stated that they did not receive a vital six-month assessment of their health and social care needs. These assessments monitor how well stroke survivors are recovering and identify additional, tailored support that may be needed to prevent unnecessary readmissions to hospital and care homes.

The National Stroke Association is now calling on the on the Government to commit to a new stroke strategy. The current 10 year National Stroke Strategy for England ends in 2017 and the charity is warning that stroke survivors’ recovery will continue to be put at serious risk unless the Government commits to a new strategy.

Jon Barrick, chief executive at the Stroke Association, said: “These findings are deeply concerning. Currently, too many stroke survivors feel abandoned when they return home as they are not given the right support to begin their rehabilitation.

“Major strides have been made in the way stroke is treated in hospital; however the same is not true when stroke survivors return home. No one plans for a stroke, but the Government can, and should, ensure that the right care and support is there when people need it most.”

“Stroke survivors have told us that they have had to wait weeks – and in some cases months – for the support and therapy they need to rebuild their lives. For too many people, their support comes too late, it stops too soon, or they don’t have access to all types of therapy they need.

“We successfully campaigned for the first strategy ten years ago which has led to dramatic improvements in the way stroke is treated in hospital. However this has not carried through to the support that people need once they return home.

“The Government has said they don’t have plans to renew the stroke strategy, yet over 78% of stroke survivors have said a national plan is needed. That’s why we’re urging people to sign our petition calling on the Government to bring in a new era for stroke.”

Of all survivors with a physical disability surveyed in the South East, a third rated the therapy they received at home for physical disabilities as either very poor or poor.

Over half (56%) of all survivors with depression or low mood as a result of their condition surveyed in the South East said the support they received for this was very poor or poor.

Professor Helen Rodgers, President of the British Association of Stroke Physicians, said: “There have been major improvements in the care provided by specialist in-patient stroke services to patients with acute stroke and TIA (transient ischaemic attack or mini-stroke) since the introduction of the National Stroke Strategy for England in 2007 and similar strategies in the devolved nations of the UK.

“Unfortunately, there has been little progress to meet the on-going needs of stroke patients and their families following discharge from hospital.

“The British Association of Stroke Physicians strongly supports the Stroke Association’s call for a new comprehensive national stroke programme to develop specialist stroke services across the whole care pathway to improve life after stroke.”

Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “This survey paints a worrying picture of inadequate care planning and services for stroke survivors. It is neither cost effective nor clinically effective to provide life-saving treatment but not life-enhancing rehabilitation afterwards. Ensuring stroke survivors have speedy and sufficient access to physiotherapy is an essential part of their recovery, enabling people to be independent.”

To sign the Stroke Association’s petition for a new stroke strategy, visit:

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