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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Almost half of stroke survivors feel abandoned after hospital, research reveals

Written by The Press Association

Almost half of people who have survived a stroke feel abandoned when they leave hospital, according to new research.

A poll of more than 1,100 stroke survivors in England found 45% felt left alone while 27% of those who suffered a physical disability from their stroke received "very poor" or "poor" therapy once they were at home.

Almost half (49%) of all survivors with memory problems said access to support for memory was very poor or poor while 49% of those suffering depression or low mood also ranked services to help them as very poor or poor.

Some 39% of all people surveyed left hospital without a care plan aimed at helping them recover and almost half (47%) were not contacted by a health professional after they left.

Four out of 10 people (39%) also did not receive the recommended six-month check up on their needs.

Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, which conducted the survey, 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."

The charity is launching a new campaign, A New Era for Stroke, which calls on the Government to produce a new national stroke strategy. It has also launched a petition on the issue. The current stroke strategy for England ends next year.

Mr Barrick said: "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.

"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."

Professor Helen Rodgers, president of the British Association of Stroke Physicians, said there has been "little progress" to meet the ongoing needs of stroke patients and their families.

Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, added: "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.

"We are very pleased to back the Stroke Association's call for a new stroke strategy so that survivors receive the best possible support from hospital to home."

A stroke is a serious, life-threatening event which is caused by the blood supply to part of the brain being cut off.

Every year, around 110,000 people in England have a stroke. Strokes are the third largest cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Action is being taken to ensure the progress made in the national stroke strategy continues, so that clinical care for stroke survivors is of the highest quality.

"We know that good progress has been made, with mortality rates decreasing.

"Over 78% of patients are assessed by a specialist stroke physician within 24 hours of admission, demonstrating that stroke services are making good progress in delivering seven-day specialist medical services.

"Nice (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have developed guidelines for social care so that staff and providers have clear standards, and we expect them to be followed."

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